In September 2017, four-year-old Garrett Michael Matthias was diagnosed with a rare cancer. For ten months, he endured brutal chemotherapy and radiation for embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, but he never lost his sense of humor. People who said goodbye to him with “See you later, alligator” were often taken aback by Garrett’s standard response: “See ya later, suckas!” When his parents, Ryan and Emilie Matthias, found out he was terminal, they started writing down his thoughts on life and death. Garrett died on July 6, 2018. Five days later, the Des Moines Register ran the family’s unusual paid obituary, which was written almost entirely in Garrett’s own words and is featured below. His words will make you laugh, cry, or maybe even both. Meet some more incredible parents who are fighting to end childhood cancer for good.
Courtesy Matthias Family, Kelsey Kremer/The Register/USA Today Network
Des Moines Register (July 11, 2018), Copyright © 2018 by Gannett-Community Publishing. All rights reserved.
Garrett did have a Viking funeral, complete with snow cones and bouncy houses. His story has inspired a children’s book called Dirty, Stupid, Cancer! Read on for these powerful parenting lessons we can all learn from children with cancer.