The sweet and sour obituary of a 5-year-old boy who died of an “ugly beast and cancer”


“The harsh reality for Garrett and so many other children is that childhood cancers are vicious and terrible scourges, paving the way for total chaos,” deplore the parents of the Iowa native’s baby in the United States.


What should the obituary of a 5 year old boy look like, condemned by a devastating rhabdomyosarcoma, a malignant tumour that particularly attacks children? Garrett Michael Booflas’ parents, like all parents in the world, did not have the answer. What to do, what to say, what to write in the face of the ineffable? So they turned to their sons to speak “in his own words” about his life.
Nine months after being diagnosed with what he calls this “ugly and stupid cancer”, the 5-year-old American from Iowa died on July 6. Before that, he will have established his obituary himself, with the help of his parents. Published in the local daily Desmoines Register, and relayed in the biggest Anglo-Saxon media, this text lists the things the little boy likes, self-proclaimed “the genius Garrett superslip”, in reference to the classic children’s literature Capitaine slip, sold more than 70 million copies.

From Garrett, this miniature autobiography reveals a certain difficulty in choosing, from his favourite colour – blue, red, black and green – to his favourite superhero – “Batman, and Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and Cyborg”. His favourite activities also include “normal” children’s things, like playing with his sister, Batman (again him) or his Lego. And others a little less classical, like “the moment when I fall asleep before injecting things into my catheter”. Garrett says he hates “touching[his] catheter,” but not as much as “pants,” for which he underlines his disgust with a vengeful exclamation point.

There are also these icy questions. When he grows up, Garrett wants to be a professional boxer. When he’s dead, “a gorilla who throws his poop at Dad”. An implacable logic, when his parents ask him what he wants at his funeral: “Funerals are sad, I want five bouncy castles, because I’m 5 years old”. Also, “Batman and ice cream”. Moreover, Garer will want to be cremated rather than buried, “like when Thor’s mother dies”. Thus, he can “become a tree, where to live when[he] becomes a gorilla”.

To conclude this brief text, Garer’s parents specify that the tribute ceremony will take place Saturday, July 14, starting at 5 p.m., at Van Meter Cemetery, Iowa. The burial of the toddler will be held later, in privacy, “when his parents will finally have found how well they can manage to transform ashes into trees, and find a square of preserved nature, so that his tree can be in a protected place.

Parents also list a number of associations that fight against childhood cancer, to which curious people who have come to read this sweet and sour text can make donations: the Little Al Foundation, the Pink Tractor Foundation, or the University of Iowa Dance Marathon.

“The harsh reality for Garrett and so many other children is that childhood cancers are vicious and terrible scourges, paving the way for total chaos. For Garrett and so many other children, cancer kills. Those who are “lucky enough” enough to get away with it experience lifelong side effects that will weaken them, and will always live in fear of a relapse. We will fight to find a cure until no other childhood is stolen, no other brother or sister loses a best friend, no other parent has to bury their baby. »
Read also: Paediatric cancer mortality continues to decline

The obituary obviously leaves the last word to Garrett, who always greeted the medical teams with a sound “See ya later alligator”, which we could translate from a cheerful “A plus dans le bus”. The “ingenious Garrett superslip” slips away: “See you soon, nullos! »

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