It’s been a little over a year since my kitty Indy passed away in my arms. I still miss him every day, but I do my best to keep the fond memories of his funny, slightly (!) obnoxious personality in the foreground of my memory.
One thing that really helps me get through hard times is songwriting, and the night that Indy died, I started writing a tender, loving lullaby to him.
Thanks to the sensitivity and expertise of my producer Seth Horan, “Last Lullaby” is now fully realized as a recording that embodies the feelings of motherly love, loss, tenderness, longing and acceptance I struggled with that night.
In the spirit of sharing this song with as many people as possible, I’m making this recording available for free.
My hope is that this song is healing and cathartic for those who need it, and beautiful for those who don’t. If the song touches you, please share it with your friends. I would be honored.
If you’d like to know more about my last evening with Indy, please read on. After reading our story, I believe you’ll come away with a deeper understanding of what the lyrics to “Last Lullaby” mean for me.
Indy’s Last Night
When Indy first came home from the vet that afternoon, I knew it would be our last night together. The doctor had been treating him with IV fluids all week, and instead of improving, Indy’s body was starting to show signs of shutting down. The vet sent him home, telling us to enjoy one last evening with our baby. We had an appointment to return the next morning at 10am to put him to sleep.
When Indy first got home, I cradled him in my arms and tried to make him as comfortable as I could. The photo I used for the song’s artwork was taken by Andrew while I was trying to comfort Indy upon his arrival home (if you look closely, you can see a little bandage on Indy’s front paw where he’d been receiving fluids from the vet all week). This photo is the last one that Indy and I took together.
As day turned into evening, Indy and I (plus Andrew and our dear friend Ilene) sat on the couch together and watched “The Big Lebowski,” which was great for a bit of much-needed light-heartedness.
But as the evening progressed, it was clear that Indy was becoming more and more uncomfortable. He continually tried to reposition his body, despite being decreasingly able to move his legs. No matter how he tried to move, he seemed uncomfortable in the true sense of the word: unable to be comforted (at least physically).
I took him upstairs to lie on my bed, and tried to arrange his head on my pillow, as he didn’t seem to have the strength to hold his head up by himself. All I could do was watch over him as his breathing became more labored and the toxins from his damaged kidneys slowly overtook his body.
Indy needed me that night, but I couldn’t cuddle and pet him as I used to — he was sensitive to light and touch and I could tell that stroking his fur was irritating, rather than soothing him. As I agonized over the right thing to do, unable to help my baby as he lay next to me in pain, I did my best to just lie next to him and be there for him as we shared our last few hours together. It was so hard not to be able to cuddle him to make both of us feel better.
In the early morning hours, I debated whether I should bring him to the emergency vet to put him down (I couldn’t stand seeing him suffer), but Andrew and I decided that it would be less jarring to Indy’s senses if we could wait it out with him in our dark bedroom until 8am, when our familiar vet’s office opened in the morning.
In order to deal with my overwhelming feelings of loss and helplessness, in the wee hours of the morning I brought a pen and paper over to the bed and began writing what would become “Last Lullaby” — the song I wish I could’ve sung to my beloved baby that night.
It turns out we didn’t have to wait until 8am, and Indy didn’t have to endure another trip to the vet. He took his last breaths in my arms around 6am that morning, and then I laid him on my bed to tearfully say my goodbyes.
I do still miss him every day, but I also feel incredibly lucky to have had such a sweet, silly, iconic & cuddly character in my life. I’m grateful to have had the time with him that I did, and to now be able to share this song with you.
Here’s a photo of the lyrics in progress a day or two after I started them, with Indy’s sister Pumpkin keeping watch:
Thanks for reading about Indy & me, and for sharing our song with your friends & family.