For months, Ryan and Emilie Matthias watched their 5-year-old son Garrett fight a rare form of cancer.
Before his death last week, amid a battle no family wants to face, their son did something out of the ordinary - he wrote his own obituary.
"We didn't necessarily talk about his funeral, so we never had the conversation with him that he was going to die, but we did a lot of conversations around, 'When I die, I want to do this,'" his mom, Emilie Matthias, said through tears.
It was conversations like those that spurred the Iowa couple to write down Garrett's remarks, questionnaire-style, to create an obituary unlike any other.
Garrett, also known affectionately as "The Great Garrett Underpants," was a superhero fan who adored his family and dreamed of becoming a professional boxer.
While his obituary showcased his unique and fun-loving personality, it also did not shy away from the pain of cancer - something his family said was intentional, to show the reality of the disease.
Among the things he said he loved was "when they put me to sleep before they access my port," while his list of things he hated included "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."
The preschooler also included his hopes for an afterlife.
"When I die: I am going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!" he wrote, while he added that he wanted 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."
"Those are his words verbatim," Ryan Matthias said of his son's musings. "When I read it, I'm just like 'Wow, sounds like Garrett just yapping at me."
As far as how he wanted to be remembered, Garrett had big ideas for an unconventional event.
"Big or Small Funeral: Funerals are sad: I want 5 bouncy houses (because I'm 5), Batman, and snow cones," he wrote - a plan his parents intended to honor with a celebration of his life and a "symbolic Asgardian burial ceremony" from the Marvel comics universe.
"Why does it have to be sad?" his mom asked. "I know, me personally, [I] have cried oceans of tears in the last nine months and I think this is one of the things that we can do to make his day."
A "prankster" to the end, his family said the final thoughts in Garrett's obituary embodied the young boy's spirit: "See ya later, suckas!"
Garrett's full obituary, published in the Des Moines Register on July 11, reads as follows:
My name is: Garrett Michael Boofias
My birthday is: I am 5 years old
My address is: I am a Bulldog!
My favorite color is: Blue….and Red and Black and Green
My favorite superhero is: Batman…and Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Cyborg
When I grow up: I'm going to be a professional boxer
My favorite people are:
•Mommy, Daddy, my sister 'Delcina' (Delphina),
•The grandparents with the new house (Fredric and Cheryl Krueger),
•The grandparents with the camper (Daniel and Nita Matthias),
•My cousins: Grady, 'that guy I took down that one time' (Luke), and London Marie,
•My Auntie Janette and Stinky Uncle Andy (Andrew and Janette Krueger),
•Those two guys, you know, my uncles (Kristopfer Krueger and James Taylor)
The things I love the most: 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
Things I hate: 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)
When I die: I am going to be a gorilla and throw poo at Daddy!
Burned or Buried: 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
Big or Small Funeral: Funerals are sad: I want 5 bouncy houses (because I'm 5), Batman, and snow cones
Emilie and Ryan Matthias will honor Garrett's final wishes by having a Celebration of Life on Saturday, July 14th from 5pm - 11pm at 2377 132nd Ct Van Meter, Iowa
Note: Symbolic Asgardian burial ceremony and fireworks will be held just after sunset
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.
Donations can be made directly to the family or in Garrett's honor to a few of the many non-profits that helped Garrett along the way: The Little Al Foundation, The Pink Tractor Foundation and the University of Iowa Dance Marathon.
We are so grateful to the many doctors, nurses, child life specialists, musicians, art therapists, and volunteers that worked tirelessly to cure Garrett of his cancer. The reality for Garrett and so many other children is pediatric cancer is an ugly, nasty beast that leaves a path of destruction. For Garrett and many others before him - cancer kills. Those that are 'lucky' enough to survive endure long term debilitating side effects and the constant fear of relapse. We will fight for a cure until no other kids are robbed of their childhood, no other siblings lose their best friends, and no other parents have to bury their babies.
Garrett endured nine months of hell before he lost his battle with cancer. 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