Family honors final wishes of 5-year-old boy who wrote own obituary before cancer death

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A family in Iowa is in mourning after their young son died of cancer over the summer.

A family in Iowa is in mourning after their young son died of cancer over the summer.

But, before he died, 5-year-old Garrett Matthias left behind a life-affirming message of hope as he instructed his parents on how to honor his passing.

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He was a 5-year-old who didn't want a funeral.

"He said the funerals were sad. He wanted a celebration of life, he wanted a party," his father said.

"My name is Garrett Michael Boofias. I am 5 years old," he wrote in his own obituary. "When I die I'm going to be a gorilla."

Garrett Mathia had a rare childhood cancer. He battled it for 10 months before he died July 6.

"We knew that he was going to die," his mother said. "We knew that was coming and it just didn't seem right for us to have such an impersonal obituary."

So, his parents worked to make his final wishes come true.

They hosted a celebration of life -- complete with a bounce house, snow cones and an Asgardians burial, like Thor's mom from the movie.

"We did what Garrett wanted and he didn't want it a sad funeral."

Now they're focused on keeping his memory alive by raising money for pediatric cancer research.

"When it comes down to it, real action is funding cancer research," his mother said.

And they're working to make one more final wish come true.

Garrett said he wanted to be made into a tree so you could live in it.

"So we did a lot of research and had a lot of wonderful people reach out to us," his mom said.

His family found a place in California, specializing in green burials.

They'll take his ashes there next summer and place them at a redwood.

"You can see the Pacific Ocean this huge bay. It's on top of this hill. It's a wonderful place," his dad said.

A wonderful place, fit for a wonderful boy, gone too soon.
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familyfamilyhealthcancerchild deathIowa