Charlie and the Monkeys


When our dear friend Charlie was diagnosed with a fast-moving brain tumor, a friend and I planned to send a meal to the hospital for his wife and daughters. They spent many hours there, and homemade food gave them a break from hospital fare.

I went into Dollar General to pick up a few candy bars to include and met the above monkeys. Right away, their expressions won me over.

Charlie was dying. Should I send along a whimsical gift? Charlie and his family were just the types to appreciate four monkeys with endearing expressions, but is it okay to be silly when things are so sad?

Something told me to send the monkeys. So I did.


The next day, Charlie’s daughter Cheryl emailed me this photo. Charlie was pulling on tubes. The monkeys gave him something to hold, a good distraction. A few days later, Charlie was moved to hospice. When Cliff and I visited him there, I saw the monkeys again. They swung from the bed.  Charlie was now too sick to hold anything.

But the lesson for me is that it’s okay to give green and yellow and brown monkeys with velcro paws to a seventy-year-old man. And when you’re not sure what choice to make, trust your whimsical side.

Here’s Charlie Morgan, in the yellow shirt, at the beach this summer. We’ll miss you, friend. Thanks for your smart, calm, assuring, and witty presence in our lives for the past thirty years.

8 thoughts on “Charlie and the Monkeys”

  1. I have no doubt that those whimsical monkeys will find a place in Brenda ‘ s home and put a smile on her face every time she sees them.

  2. What an inspired idea! Who could resist those cute little monkey faces? Bet they helped bring a smile to a grieving family. I’m sorry for the loss of a much loved man.

  3. Good job. And good job on the solemn honor of tolling the bell yesterday. It seemed like the church was saying farewell to someone who had helped care for it for so long.

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