Blog Written & Illustrated by Tawn Le

Re-Imagining My Life After Dad's Death

It’s been quite a crazy and wonderful journey for me on this Adult Gap Year. By the time you read this, I’d be nearing my 8-month mark. If you’re new and haven’t followed my story, here’s a brief outline of how things transpired within the last few months.

Recap of my Gap Year

  • July 2018 | Left in NYC

  • August 2018 | Solo Travelled Europe (Post 1/2 and Post 2/2)

  • September 2018 | Back to Texas - Dad hospitalized due to medication side effects

  • October 2018 | Travelled around Texas & Mexico City

  • November 2018 | Went to Vietnam to Visit Family then Crazy Rich Asian’d Singapore with Friends

  • December 2018 | NYC to Rest, Reflect, & Prepare for Part 2 (Non-Travel Edition) of my Adult Gap Year

  • January 2019 | Travelled to South Africa

  • February 2019 | Back to Texas & with my Dad Before He Passed

  • March 2019 | Started Reiki Practice and became a Practitioner at MINKA Brooklyn & Re-Imagining the Future

Re-Imagining with Fresh Perspectives

Before leaving Amazon, I didn’t know how everything would eventually unfold for me, and I’m grateful for how each experience and story eventually prepared and led me forward. This year has taught me to really lean in to what I’m already doing, and to trust that it’s the right thing. It’s helped me to trust my own instinct and intuition in terms of not having all the answers but having enough emotional clarity to continue.

Do I worry and get anxiety sometimes? Of course, it’s a natural response of protection and self-preservation, but like many things in my life, I’m now a bit better at how I observe, understand, manage, and adapt if need be.

Being with my Dad in the last moments of his life made me realize how quick and impactful life can be. The last few days before we knew he would pass, I asked him if he was ready to go, and he answered with a firm nod. He was ready and even knew the exact day he would transition.

I’m grateful that I spent the last few days sleeping in the hospital room with him, seeing him smile in satisfaction after carefully feeding him ice-chips, turning YouTube Buddhist mantras up on full volume, and cleaning & moisturizing his face on Lunar New Year with a special towelette I picked out for the big day.

As I got ready to head back to NYC the day after New Year, I prayed to our ancestors. I asked that if it was truly his time to go, to help him transition, and if it wasn’t, then to help him through his recovery. After the prayers were done, I drove to the hospital to say goodbye without knowing it would be the last one.

When I landed in NYC, and turned on my phone, my Mom’s text message appeared: Your Father has died! Your Father has died!

I couldn’t cry. I went into shock, then quickly into logistics mode to figure out how to get back to Dallas because that’s just how I deal with things at first.

I’m grateful for having siblings like my brother and sister - from the moment we all got back, we immediately started all funeral planning and execution. We were a team (lol, we also used Asana as our project management tool), and we were executing things the way Dad wanted, and I hope he’s proud. Being there together gave us time to focus and honor his life while at the same time set him up for the next part of his life.

My Dad’s Funeral was a reminder of how he lived. While he lived a pretty solitude life within the last few decades, what he’s done for people in terms of liberation will last for lifetimes to come. The outpouring of love from all over the world was a reflection of his life, and I felt so honored to be his daughter and be able to witness someone who lived purposefully with an anchored belief in human freedom.

About a month afterwards, I eventually returned to NYC, and started to work on small projects that I created for myself. My NYC family has welcomed me back with open arms, and I’m excited to move on with life and do things that I’m passionate and excited about. All the goals that I’ve set for myself at the beginning of the year are well on its way.

It’s been pretty scary, I’m not going to lie. There are days where I’m manically working on so many things because I’m scared that I will eventually have to return to the corporate world to make money. But at the end of the day, it’s my own ego and pride that I need to work through because NYC is the hub of so many different jobs - who gives a shit what I do as long as I’m not hurting myself and/or others AND I have time to work on things that I love and enjoy.

One thing that I’ve learned from Dad’s passing is that life’s too short, do what makes you feel alive, and do it with purpose & intention.

And that’s where I’m at in my journey, friends. My world is once again re-imagined, and it’s pretty damn cool.