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Celestine

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

Last week on the Sunday Ramble I talked about needing to rearrange the shed and get new worktops and scratching an itch as it were. So the worktops and cupboards arrived and I spent Wednesday emptying out the shed and building the new worktops and cupboards and of course they didn't quite fit where I wanted them to be, and being such a small space, you can't move one cupboard without moving lots of others like one of those logic puzzles with the cars... so it took a lot of moving and shifting and I had to get everything in again before the rain came...



I was utterly exhausted and by the evening I was getting there. Furniture in place, things back on top of the new worktops, just a new cupboard to build and a pile of stuff in the garage to sort and put in the cupboard when built.



It was Halloween, Samhain, the time to remember our ancestors and to look back and give thanks, to honour those who go before us. A time to sit with the ancestors and look in a few dark places, and ask a few questions.

I went outside to leave some corn on the pond island as an offering and I saw a box that was out in the rain and I thought I'd just pop back out the shed and put it in there.

I put it on the worktop and whole thing collapsed at the front, one of the legs was faulty and it broke, the other couldn't take the strain and broke too and the entire worktop and everything on top of it went shooting forwards and crashed on the floor.

I saw pens and pencils and books flying and then heard a smash.

It was Celestine.

In pieces.



I was in pieces. Utterly devastated and numb.




Celestine is my great grandmother. The head of line of women. Mother of Karin, my grandmother, who was mother of Anne Karin, mother of me, Karin. She is my namesake and who I named my business after. She has always watched over me and I felt such a connection to her. She symbolised my family and heritage and history and my business and on the day we are to honour the ancestors, I had smashed her to pieces.






I went in the house and cried. Too tired to think or do anything, Lupin cuddled up with me and I sat there numb. Was this the worst omen ever? How could I not have her watching over me?


After a night's sleep and having cleared up and swept up the pieces and fixed the legs, I sat down and picked up the pieces from the box and looked at her. Maybe just maybe some of her face could be fixed.

Maybe I could repair her and at least have some of her to watch over me.



I told my family and close friends what had happened and was surrounded by love and suggestions and offers of help. My brother found someone to fix her for me but I felt I needed to do this myself, or at least try.

It was Samhain. The day to sit with your ancestors, to honour them. So, I would sit with Celestine and honour her and Efraim my great uncle who had made the bust of her and the rest of my family.

I have so much work to do and orders waiting and a gallery waiting for work and emails to answer and messages galore and so much to do but this was important. Everything would just have to wait.




So, Celestine and I have spent the last couple of days together. This is why I have been quiet and there haven't been films. The shed is a tip, still needing sorting, still no room to work, but I needed to do this and in a way, it seemed the perfect task to use the new space and desk for the first time.

I researched how to fix plaster and I have tenderly put her together again, piece by tiny piece.



I know every inch of her face now, I know her hair, the shape of her nose, the curl of her ear. I have talked to her and honoured her and loved her. It felt so tender to do this act of love.




My aunt sent me a message that Efraim was smiling down on me. I hope so. I am sorry she broke in my care.









She has holes I cannot fill, and some large cracks and there is a box of tiny fragments I am not sure where they go, but they will go in a bag inside her if I don't find where, and I'm not sure she will stay on her plinth when dry but I can see her again and the time we spent together felt so very special and quiet and what I needed to do.

Some things are important to do. Some things stop the world for a moment. This was one.

I apologise for those who wait, for those who I haven't answered emails and messages and for orders waiting, I hope you understand why.

I will get to work doubly quickly next week, now she is there to watch over us again.



A lesson learned in love and loss and spending time with one's ancestors.


Celestine, Annie, Ester, Efraim, Karin, Lilly, Oscar, Per Villhelm Larsson

Here she is with her family. Seems strange when you see a photo so old as that I met Annie, Ester, Lilly and the boys. Ate dinner with them, played in their garden. Karin is my grandmother. So long ago, they had no idea what lay in store for them, what might happen in the world, but look at the love and a hint of nortiness in some of those faces.

My dear ancestors.

How lucky I am.



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©Karin Celestine  Monmouth, Wales

United Kingdom