Vantage Point

by Bella Rum

vantage point – noun – a position or place that affords a wide or advantageous perspective; viewpoint


I’m in the throes of insomnia. I woke at 3:00 a.m. I once wrote a post about waking at 3:00 a.m. Apparently, that’s the time most people wake with a jolt.

Let’s not go there. Let’s talk about The Brother’s personal life, because he’d love to know that I’m sharing his business with the Internet.

My Brother has had a few women in his life. He had two lengthy marriages. His first marriage ended in divorce after about 16 years. They married young and had a son together (a wonderful son… my favorite relative). His second wife, with whom he shared a very happy life, died about ten years ago. I believe their marriage was about 15 years.

He is with a charming woman. I used to tease that her name should be The Package because she came in such a pretty wrapper. She is very attractive, a fabulous dresser, vivacious and interested in so many things.  She teaches children with special needs.

She’s added a civilized touch to our family gatherings. Not to say we are a heathenish lot, but we most definitely land on the casual side of the coin. And all of our family occasions have been hosted at The Brother’s house for many years because his house is next door to Dad’s. The Brother is the best cook in the entire world, but he’s a guy’s guy. The finer touches are not his long suit.

After her arrival, our family gatherings were suddenly festooned with flowers and seasonal tablecloths and pretty china and all kinds of real vegetables instead of just huge platters of seafood, meat and starches. She combines my mother’s flowers with flowers she grows at their backdoor and makes beautiful arrangements. She’s found a way to combine our traditions with her own style. It’s great fun.

She fits into my brother’s lifestyle, but has reintroduced that feminine element to his life that’s been missing for a while.  He teases her about being prissy, but I think he secretly likes it. His home has never looked or felt more homey.

She’s about thirteen years younger than my brother – about 51. She survived breast cancer about 10 years ago. A few weeks ago, she suffered chest pains at school. They thought she was having a heart attack. When they finished all the tests, they found that she did not have heart issues. So they moved on to other tests and eventually learned that she had lung cancer. The top lobe of her left lung was removed last week. She’s doing well.

The chest pains were unrelated but what a blessing. Early diagnoses is everything, and they wouldn’t have diagnosed it this soon if she hadn’t had chest pains. We visited her yesterday. She is breathless after a few steps, but she assured us everything will improve as the other lung compensates.

I think she’s a bit skittish about being a two-time cancer survivor. I guess she feels a little like one of those people who keeps getting struck by lightning, but she has a very optimistic nature. Only my husband can equal her cup-half-full-ishness.

Attempting to get out and about, she has walked around the property the past few days – slow and easy. So we took a walk with her while we were there. As we walked around the yard and down by the water, we turned to look back at the house. Her mums and pumpkins splattered fall color across the deck that overlooks the wetlands, her autumn flag was fluttering in the wind and the newly germinated, apple-green grass The Brother planted a few weeks ago was flourishing. She said, “Look how beautiful it is. I just love it here, and I can’t wait to get my kayak back in the water so I can look at it from that vantage point.”

A good vantage point is a great thing to have.