The mother of a five-year-old boy who helped write his own obituary before he died of cancer earlier this month says she is “humbled” her son’s words have “touched so many people.”
Garrett Matthias published his obituary on the website of the family’s funeral home in Iowa in the United States.
In it he says he does not want a sad funeral, before signing off “See ya later, suckas!”.
On Saturday his wishes were honoured with “a celebration of his life”
Garrett died from a rare form of cancer on 6 July after what his parents describe as “nine months of hell”.
In mid-June when Garrett’s parents, Emilie and Ryan, learned his illness was terminal they started to think about what they wanted to do.
“One thing I struggle with is when you read a normal obituary you don’t get much information about what the person was like,” Emilie told the BBC.
“I wanted people to get a sense of Garrett’s personality. It struck me we should write it in his words.”
The likes and dislikes of Great Garrett Underpants
They compiled the obituary from a series of conversations they had with their son in the weeks leading up to his death.
The resulting testimony of “Great Garrett Underpants” describes both his likes:
“Playing with my sister, my blue bunny, thrash metal, Legos, my daycare friends, Batman and when they put me to sleep before they access my port.”
And the things he hated:
“Pants! Dirty stupid cancer, when they access my port, needles, and the monkey nose that smells like cherry farts…
“I do like the mint monkey nose like at Mayo Radiation and that one guy that helped me build Legos (Randy).”
Asked about death, Garrett said: “When I die: I am going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!”
Garrett’s parents also asked him about what he wanted to happen to his body, and what kind of service he wanted.
“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 wrote. “Funerals are sad: I want five bouncy houses (because I’m five), Batman, and snow cones.”
Garrett’s words have been covered by news agencies both across the US and internationally, and have spread through social media.
Emilie says she is “dumbstruck by how far-reaching reaction has been”.
“We have had people from all over the world write to us. We are in awe and humbled that writing in Garrett’s words has touched so many people.”
On Saturday, in accordance with Garrett’s wishes, Emilie and Ryan threw a “Celebration of Life”.
“It was very very successful, a lot of people from the community came,” Emilie says.
“We had five bouncy houses, Batman, Wonder Woman and Spider Man and snow cones.”
His parents also honoured his request for an Asgardian burial ceremony like Thor’s mother had. An archer shot a flaming arrow at a model boat as it floated on the lake by their home.
They are planning to find a way to turn his ashes into a tree.
“Funerals don’t have to be sad. Even though we are devastated about the loss of our son, having a celebration of his life was the most amazing event I have had the honour of planning” says Emilie.