Obit, memorial service of 5-year-old Iowa boy gets attention
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A unique memorial service set for 5-year-old Garrett Matthias of central Iowa is matched only by the one-of-a-kind obituary the preschooler had a hand in authoring and that is now garnering national attention.
Garrett, of Van Meter, Iowa, died July 6 of a rare cancer that attacked his temporal bone and cranial nerve. His obituary includes details of some of the painful treatments he endured. But it's his funny take on life and death that's getting noticed.
His obit notes his likes: Playing with his sister, his blue bunny, thrash metal music. And his dislikes: Pants, dirty stupid cancer, and the times hospital workers had to access his medical port. The obit was compiled by his parents, Emilie and Ryan Matthias, who began asking Garrett questions about such adult topics as funeral and burial preferences when they learned from doctors last month that his cancer was terminal.
His responses, his mom said Friday, make up the obituary. Asked about death, Garrett responded he was "going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!" Asked whether he wanted to be buried or cremated, he replied, "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."
And he was specific about the kind of affair he expected his funeral to be. "Funerals are sad," he said. "I want five bouncy houses (because I'm 5), Batman and snow cones." The obit closes with his last message, "See ya' later, suckas! -The Great Garrett Underpants."
Garrett's memorial service on Saturday will have many of those last requests — including the five bouncy houses. Besides snow cones, carnival games and fireworks, an archer will shoot a flaming arrow onto a small boat carrying Garrett's ashes in a neighbor's pond.
The obituary says a private burial of Garrett's ashes "will be held at a later time, once his parents figure out how the hell to get his ashes made into a tree and locate a nature preserve, so his tree resides in a protected area."