Writing your own child’s obituary is something no parent ever hopes to do. Iowa parents Emilie and Ryan Matthias knew that they would eventually face this unthinkable task when in June their 5-year-old son Garrett’s cancer was declared terminal.
Last September, Garrett was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that attacked his cranial nerve, inner ear and temporal bone, Fox News reported. Garrett died on July 6, but his legacy is being spread far and wide, thanks to the unique obituary he helped craft himself.
In the months leading up to his passing, Garrett spoke frankly with his parents about death. Emilie Matthias told the Des Moines Register that their family attended several funerals of other cancer patients, and Garrett was troubled by how sad everyone seemed.
“He would say, ‘Why are funerals so sad? I’m going to have bouncy houses at mine,’” Matthias told the Register.
The 5-year-old would often discuss his own death using epic descriptions from his favorite superhero movies.
“He’d say, ‘I want to be burned like in ‘Thor,’ and then I want to become a gorilla,’” Emilie said.
When it came time to write their son’s obituary, Ryan and Emilie knew that it has to be different. After spending the better part of nine months grieving, they were desperate for more of that signature comic relief Garrett was always quick to provide.
“We really tried to use his words, and the way that he talked,” she said. “Garrett was a very unique individual. What I really didn’t want was for his obituary to be ordinary and to have a really sad funeral. We’ve cried oceans of tears for the last nine months.”
Garrett’s obituary details his likes (“playing with my sister, my blue bunny, thrash metal, Legos…”), his dislikes (“pants!, dirty stupid cancer…”), his favorite people (his family) and his dream of becoming a professional boxer (and eventually a gorilla).
His favorite colors were “blue and red and black and green” and his favorite superheroes were “Batman and Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Cyborg.”
When he died, Garrett declared, he was “going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!”
He also discussed the details of his burial:
“I want to be burned (like when Thor’s Mommy died) and made into a tree so I can live in it when I’m a gorilla,” he noted.
Garrett requested that his funeral include fireworks, as well as “5 bouncy houses (because I’m 5), Batman, and snow cones.”
“Garrett endured nine months of hell before he lost his battle with cancer,” the obituary notes. “During that time he never lost his sense of humor and loved to tease the doctors and nurses. From whoopy cushions and sneaking clothes pins on their clothes to ‘hazing’ the interns and new staff doctors, he was forever a prankster. Nothing caught people off guard as his response to ‘see ya later alligator.’”
“See ya later, suckas! – The Great Garrett Underpants,” it concludes.
According to the Des Moines Register, Garrett’s daycare managed to secure five bounce houses to fulfill his funeral wishes. A celebration of Garrett’s life will take place on Saturday.
A family member created a GoFundMe page to help the Matthias family cover the cost of Garrett’s medical care and funeral expenses. To learn more, click here.
(H/T: Fox News)