Obit for ‘The Great Gar­rett,’ 5, draws na­tional at­ten­tion

Boston Herald - - OBITUARIES -

DES MOINES, Iowa — 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 yes­ter­day, 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 to­day 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.”


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