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Daughter spends six years fulfilling bucket list of father who got killed in distracted driving

By NICK GARCIA Published Jun 14, 2023 11:59 am

A woman spent nearly six years completing the bucket list of her father, who was killed by a distracted driver about a decade ago.

Laura Carney, in her memoir My Father's List: How Living My Dad's Dreams Set Me Free published on June 13, recalled how her father was "only alive for 25 years" of her life yet his spirit lives on—as a comedian, a salesman, a writer, a piano bar singer, and the king of catchphrase.

According to a report from PEOPLE, of which Carney is a freelance copyeditor, she and her brother found their father's bucket list in November 2016, about 13 years since he was killed by a distracted driver.

"I'd tied the knot that spring, and Dave would wed in December," Carney said. "My brother had just moved into his first house when the list showed up. Dad never told us about it. He was too busy making jokes."

The bucket list, written in 1978 when their father was 29 years old and Carney was just born, included talking to the president, corresponding with the pope, owning a tennis court, owning a large house and land, having a cellar of fine wines, and skydiving at least once.

"My mom laughed along with him when she read it. But she didn't know, because of their divorce, that he kept checking it off his whole life," she said.

Other entries in the list included seeing a World Series (baseball) game live, being interviewed on a radio program, doing a comedy monologue. Carney's father, she said, was able to fulfill owning a great record collection, and helping parents enjoy their retirement.

"But the day a teenager made a phone call at a red light, his remaining dreams went undone," she said of the distracted driver who killed her father.

For the next few years, upon seeing the bucket list, Carney made sure that she'll finish the remaining entries for her father.

"It was a decision unlike any I'd ever made. It felt like something I was supposed to do," she said. "I hoped that by living his dreams out loud, I might inspire people to drive more mindfully. I didn't realize my mission might inspire them to live more mindfully, too."

She recalled doing the items, though "something ridiculous happened."

She peed her pants while "running 10 miles straight," puked mid-air while "skydiving at least once," "surfed in the Pacific" for only two seconds," went sailing by herself in a bathtub-sized sailboat, realized a horse rapidly emptied its bowel after trying to "ride a horse fast."

"Yet each time one of these silly things happened, I knew my dad was saying hi," Carney said. "He always wanted me to take life less seriously."