Oh goodness, this is the saddest but somehow sweetest story we've ever read. Childhood cancer is so incredibly tragic and terrible, and anytime we read about a brave child losing their battle against this vicious disease, our hearts break. It's not fair for kids to get sick, and it's not fair for kids to die when they're still kids. The pain of losing a child is something no parent should ever have to endure. A family is Iowa is trying to put the pieces back together after their funny, brave little boy passed away last week. Garrett Michael Matthias, aka The Great Garrett Underpants, was just 5 years old when he lost his life to a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer. But Garrett is still helping his family process their grief with humor and larger-than-life personality.
Garrett was diagnosed with alveolar fusion negative rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that attacked his temporal bone, cranial nerve and inner ear. He passed away on July 6, and his parents wanted to celebrate their little boy's life the way he would have wanted. His mom, Emilie, recalled something Garrett said after they'd returned from a funeral for another child he'd met in the cancer ward.
"Why are funerals so sad? I'm going to have bouncy houses at mine."
Emilie didn't want Garrett's funeral to be sad, and she didn't want to spend hours at the funeral home preparing to say goodbye to her sweet boy. They wanted to celebrate his life, and have a good time remembering the honoring the mark he left behind. So they set out to make Garrett's funeral exactly what he wanted, right down to having five bouncy houses (because he was five!).
Garrett wrote his own obituary, and included some of the details he wanted for his funeral. He wanted to be cremated (like Thor's mom), he wanted his ashes to be turned into a tree that he could live in when he becomes a gorilla, and he wanted bouncy houses and snow cones at his funeral. So his family made that all happen, and more. Garrett was cremated, and his parents are holding off on finding a permanent resting place until they "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." His funeral was full of fun and love, with face-painting, an appearance by Batman, Wonder Woman, and Spider Man, and of course, five bouncy houses.
During one of the more meaningful moments of the day, his parents honored his wishes for am Asgardian burial, from one of Garrett's favorite movies, Thor. They hired an actor to shoot a flaming arrow at Garrett's ashes, which were floating in a lake near their home.
Our hearts go out to the Matthias family, and all who knew and loved Garrett. It's clear that he touched many, many lives in his five years of life, and will continue to touch hearts with his legacy.