The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

I Left Her Behind

by Lianne TwohigSurvivor, Breast CancerApril 28, 2023View more posts from Lianne Twohig

I Left Her Behind

I left her behind.

It wasn’t my decision.

I miss her.

Not one day goes by that I don’t think of her.


I close my eyes and she’s there.

I think she’s imperfectly beautiful.

Easy on my eyes, if only in my eyes.

Her eyes- I’ve seen those eyes burning, crying, bursting with laughter.

In my mind’s eye,

She’s bright and quick and learning to be more supple in her judgements.

She isn’t naive or jaded but floating somewhere in the middle.

Miraculously, she’s glowing with the baby that’s taken up residence within.

I have never loved a body more, loved that rounded bump and the possibility bursting from the imprint of one little foot testing the limits of her skin.

I miss placing my hand on the bump and feeling the life swimming within.


I miss her every day.

Today, I donated another batch of her wardrobe.

It’s only taking up space.

I know I’ve been holding on too tightly.


See, we didn’t get to fizzle out.

It happened all so fast,

starting with the pain that seared underarm to the crest of the breast.

I grew suspicious and she grew confused until it was clear that we were splitting in two.


I left a little bit more of her behind with each day.

I left a little bit of her behind with each surgery.

I left a little bit of her behind with each piece of devastating news.

Losing eggs, then breasts.

Losing energy, strength, and hair.

Losing sensation.

Losing friends & imagined futures.


I left a little bit of her behind while

gaining weight, trauma, existential dread, and prescriptions.

Gaining scars and implants.

Gaining perspective and compassion.

Gaining new friends and experiences while raising our daughter.

Gaining the dreams and skills that lay dormant in complacency.


I do miss her so much.

I think of her every day.

Sometimes, I mourn her.

But it’s okay because I have enough of her to keep going.

And I think in the end we are both proud of what we’ve endured and who we are becoming.

This poem appears with accompanying photos on Lianne’s Instagram, @sketchyfeely

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