Mom Reveals the Story Behind Iowa 5-Year-Old's Self-Written Obituary

There were five bouncy castles at Garrett's celebration of life, and that was just how he wanted it.

Bouncy castles at a funeral might seem inappropriate, but that’s exactly what this Iowa 5-year-old who died from cancer would have wanted.

As 5-year-old Garrett Matthias’ cancer battle took a turn for the worse, his mom, Emilie Matthias of Des Moines, said she took detailed notes on his last wishes, and let him pen the words to his own obituary.

“Garrett was 5, so he doesn’t understand what an obituary is,” Emilie told “Ultimately, to write the obituary itself, we really just had a lot of conversations and asked a lot of questions. We jotted down exactly how he answered things so his personality would come out in the obituary, and I think that it did.”

One of those requests was to have five bouncy castles, one for each year of his life, at his funeral.

During his celebration of life Saturday, his final wish was fulfilled and family, friends and loved ones gathered at his home, where they enjoyed snow cones, face painting, bouncy castles and even an appearance from his favorite superheroes, Batman, Wonder Woman and most importantly, Thor.

“He absolutely loved 'Thor: Ragnorak,'" his mom said. “I remember we were coming home from somewhere and we passed a cemetery, and he asked about what was in a cemetery and why it was there. I told him that dead people are buried there, and he immediately was like, ‘I don’t want to be buried, I want to be burned like Thor’s mommy.’”

What started as a passing comment ended up as part of Garrett’s obituary that went viral last week.

In it, Garrett talked about how he had wanted to be a professional boxer when he grew up and listed the things he hates as, "Pants!, dirty stupid cancer, when they access my port, needles, and the monkey nose that smells like cherry farts."

Emilie said she asked her son innocuous questions during his fight against a rare cancer, and eventually used his answers to write the obituary.

“After we got the news that he was terminal […] one of the things I felt very strongly about [was] we wanted Garrett’s story to come out in his obituary,” she said. “Not just who was preceded in death, who the survivors were, we wanted it to showcase he died of cancer and this is a 5-year-old kid who shouldn’t have died and he died of cancer.”

Little Garrett was diagnosed with alveolar fusion negative rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, last September. Emilie said they realized something was wrong when he came home from preschool with the left side of his face paralyzed.

“It looked like he had a stroke,” she said.

He underwent aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatment before they discovered the cancer was resistant to treatment and spread quickly to other parts of his body.

Garrett lost his battle against cancer earlier this month, but not without a snarky farewell: “See ya later, suckas!"