Laura Carney was a young woman who had tragically lost her father, Mick Carney, in a car accident in 2003.
While preparing to get married in 2017, Laura stumbled upon a leather pouch among her father’s trinkets that contained a list of 54 wishes he had written in 1978, the year she was born. Laura made it her mission to complete the list on her father’s behalf.
The list contained tasks such as talking to the President, corresponding with the Pope, and swimming the width of a river. Although some of the tasks seemed impossible, Laura was determined to complete them and bring awareness to how her father passed away.
In 2003, when Laura was in her early 20s, her dad was killed by a distracted 17-year-old girl who was on her cell phone and ran a red light.
Laura was able to check off 31 of the 54 items on the list before the pandemic hit. She managed to fulfill her father’s wish of attending a World Series baseball game and helping out his parents when they retired.
She also honored his wish to “give my children the most love, the best education and best example I can give” by drinking his favorite wine at her wedding, which symbolically enabled him to “sing” at her wedding.
The most fun task she completed was growing a watermelon which she named Audrey II after “Little Shop of Horrors.” However, one of the most difficult tasks was driving a Corvette, which caused her to have a panic attack as it was only 20 minutes from the intersection where her father died.
The entire journey was eye-opening for Laura. Completing her father’s list allowed her to face her fears of her own mortality and made her more centered on who she is as a person.
“When I first started this project, I thought the main reason I needed to do this was (so I could bring) awareness to how my father died,” she told Inside Edition Digital. “I didn’t realize that I actually had something inside of me that needed to heal. There was grief that I hadn’t really dealt with.”
The most ironic part of the story is that the journey ended right at home. In December, Laura was able to fulfill her father’s wish of singing by recording five of the songs he frequently sang to her from her home.
Laura went on to talk about her growth through the process saying, “I’m just much more centered in who I am as a person and I understand myself better. A lot of these (items on the) lists, like skydiving or surfing or swimming the river or going sailing by myself, it required that I faced these fears that I had of my own mortality.”
“Once I actually did them, I realized a lot of the fears I was carrying were sort of just based on misconceptions about things,” she said.
Laura is now writing a memoir about her experience titled “My Father’s List”, which will be released in July.