During that turbulent summer of 1931 Carin was voluntarily admitted to a local and popular sanatorium that briefly helped to medically boost her sinking stamina.
She was also delighted when the party won 108 seats in the REICHSTAG parliamentary elections.
In mid September, the devastating news arrived that her dear mother had been taken seriously ill in Sweden. Sadly she died soon afterwards. Carin knew if it was expected she had to be there with her father and her family. But sadly she was unable to attend her mother’s funeral service much to her regret.
But later, with Hermann and Karen she attempted to undertake that strenuous journey to Sweden to be with her mourning family and she did indeed succeeded in this task.
She arrived with Hermann and Karen at the family home and to finally commiserate with her devastated family and friends.
Then later she requested to be taken up to her old bedroom that she had once happily shared with her sister as young girls. But to now hopefully just rest and recuperate if possible for her ravaged body after the long and slow train journey.
Carin’s much loved bedroom had hardly changed. With original wallpaper still gracing the walls. It had depicted then in beautiful details of knights and ladies of old from Camelot. With laughing hunting parties and jests emerging from sinister deep forests. And with traditional castles with colourful flags flying from the high turrets seen in the background. But now a welcoming log fire had been prepared in the bedroom for Carin’s expected return. But the emanating warmth – if any – only seemed to evaporate through in and around the old bow windows.
Now for the three of them the long night stretched ahead with uncertainly for Carin and fatigue for Karen and Hermann. Carin was now extremely weak and frail.
Both Hermann and Karen speculated if indeed she could possibly survive the long night ahead?
So two armchairs had hastily been brought into the bedroom. And the second single bed had been hastily moved into a small niche.
For some reason the bedroom now boasted no hanging curtains or draped. And some of the pervading heat had been chased away by the lingering frost that had settled over the exposed glass which offered little comfort, thought Karen moving slightly away from the exposed window, and keeping her heavy coat wrapped around herself anyway.
“It’s going to be a long night I’m afraid Karen” remarked a dejected Hermann as he seated himself on the other side of Carin’s bed. Karen then looked over to him, smiled and leaned over and squeezed his hand saying: “Oh I know Hermann, but we both know there is no other place either of us would want to be tonight,” she said with conviction.
They both then sadly looked down at Carin’s white face now settled against a crisp ivory pillowcase. Carin’s features seemed so ethereal being captured in the stark exposed light of the moon’s glow that had entered the room.
Throughout the night Carin drifted in and out of consciousness. But sometimes she talked quietly to them both with clarity.
She surprisingly recalled for some reason that when she first arrived in Berlin many years ago she had walked alone down the busy “Unter Den Lindien” but as an old stallholder selling hot chestnuts had kindly informed with affection that its true name was: “Beneath the Lime trees.” How romantic she had then thought as she walked away after tasting some of the ripened chestnuts. And for some reason it also made her feel forlorn. And would somehow remind her of her beloved Sweden.
And also then of those excited patriotic young German men, who in 1914, had then marched with glee to be involved and participate in a war that was not of their making.
And also of the many weeping young wives and sisters and mothers and sweethearts who had sadly waved them all goodbye, as they journeyed to war. And perhaps knowing in their hearts, they would never perhaps see their loved ones alive again. Carin had then foolishly hoped a future war would never descend again in Europe. Later she would not be so sure about this feeling now.
Yet amazingly Carin did survive the night and its trepidations. And also very much to her family doctor’s surprise in the morning when he visited his patient. But within a few days it was decided she should be moved to a clinic in Stockholm. There a vacant bed was booked for her arrival. Carin would now have just a few days to live.
During the last days of her life with Hermann and Karen usually seated by her side. It became a time when she was able to reminisce about the past.
Carin recalled so much that Karen had forgotten and vice versa.
Herman would recall with love so much of the early years of their happy life together. Their wonderful honeymoon in “Hochkreuth” near Bayrischzell in the ever-beautiful Bavarian Alps. And later after that failed bloodied putsch in a miserable November morning 1923. And of his near close encounter with death in Munich. And then those terribly hungry, lonely years in Europe, and always looking over their shoulders with suspicion. But they had endured it all and survived. Both then stronger if possible in their undying love for each other that had never faded.
At 6pm Karen would leave her friends bedside and telephone Walter in Munich to bring him up to date about Carin’s still perilous health. She would then finally talk to her darling son Lancelot and find out what he had been doing that day. And always end by telling him a short story and that she loved him very much.
Walter would then immediately recount by telephone to Heinrich about the failing condition of “the first lady’s” declining health. He would then report to a concerned Adolph of this bleak news. All three men accepted that the demise for Carin was now very near and the end was in finally sight.
Both Karen and Hermann would take it in turns to take a short break for a hasty light meal and a welcome bath for Karen and for Hermann a much-needed shave.
But crucial political events in Berlin were heating up. President Hindeberg was now the 84-year-old king-maker in forming a working political government. And Hitler’s party were ready to join and be requested to be seated at the bargaining table. And there help in the difficult negotiations to be brought to a conclusion. But he had continually delayed his journey to Berlin for several days not wishing to leave Carin at this crucial time in both their lives. Then Carin’s son had quietly informed his mother of the political crisis brewing in Berlin. And how he was needed to be there.
“Darling,” she had said later to her husband after hearing this crucial news and with her now withered face close to his she had insisted, “you must go to Berlin beloved, this moment in German history is what we have waited and suffered for over so many long years. But I will be here with Karen when you return my love. So, please go.”
She had then collapsed back onto her soft pillow and watched him leave through tears. Whispering softly to herself ”Goodbye my love … my life … Min karlek for Alltid” (my love forever).
Earlier that day she had spoken in almost a whisper to her darling son Thomas saying with sadness: “It will always be my regret never to have the rare opportunity to watch you grow strong into a man. But do think carefully Thomas of what you hope to do with your life. After all we are only given one life. Perhaps you might train to be a pilot like my brave Hermann was? And if you marry as I hope you will please always inform your darling children about their absent, loving, grandmother.” Then her sad words faded away and a welcome sleep claimed her now tired and aching and failing fragile body.
Those were the final words she would ever utter to her departing husband. He sadly would never see his loving wife again. Karen had herself been watching this emotional scene before her. And now she stood next to the open window with a fitted green blind string in her hand. Later on as the final moments of her faithful friend’s life ticked away, she would lower it, slowly bringing the silk room into partial darkness when death finally entered the room.
For some strange reason those precious words from the Holy Bible entered Karen’s head. They being what her father had often read to her as a young girl at bedtime: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9.27-28).
(Do not delay, just repent and become born again today).
Karen’s aching heart also informed her that Herman would never see or kiss his beloved Carin ever again.
But for Hermann his beloved Carin who had willingly forsaken so much for him so long ago, would now forever remain secure in his heart with so many thoughts of all those happy years spent together. He would always cherish her memory in eternal love.” A love that would never die,” he would later write in a letter to a dear friend.
At 4.45 am on October 16th 1931 Countess Axelina Hulda Carin Goering nee Fock Von Kantzow ebbed away just five days shy of her 43rd birthday. Now she wore the familiar image of death on her face that had settled on her body unto deathbed.
The cause of death was stated simply as “Mycobacterium Tuberculosis.”
To be continued….
(C) Copyright G. Patrick Battell