Sheep Farmer Couldn't Attend Aunt's Funeral, Did This Instead

Australia's Ben Jackson pays tribute to late aunt in viral video
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2021 6:51 AM CDT

In lockdown in Guyra, New South Wales, Australian sheep farmer Ben Jackson couldn't travel the 250 miles to Brisbane to attend the funeral of his aunt, who died recently following a two-year battle with cancer. "I felt hopeless, helpless—I didn't really know what to do," he tells the BBC. So he made a small adjustment to his chores. "Because I was doing a bit of feeding already, I just decided to do a massive heart in the ground, which in all earnest, pales in comparison to hers," says Jackson, who likes to create "art" with his sheep in the form of words and logos.

A drone video captured his flock finding the grain laid out in a heart shape, slowly forming the outline from bottom to top. Played at Monday's funeral and shared Tuesday on Instagram, it's set to Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," one of Debbie Cowdery's favorite songs. "When I saw it like that, I'll be the first to admit that it was like I had chopped a ton of onions. It was pretty emotional," Jackson tells the BBC. "I just hope that when I did it, Debbie took one eye off from having a yarn with her loved ones up there and looked down and saw my heart for her," he adds, per the Sydney Morning Herald.

The video has hit home for many around the world, who've had to say goodbye to loved ones from afar during the coronavirus pandemic. "I was completely and utterly unprepared for how it's affected me, the family and others. Of course there are so many people who are doing it tough in Australia and the world," Jackson tells the Herald. But Cowdery "would be proud as punch to see so many people smiling and enjoying the heart I've made for her," Jackson adds, per the BBC. "It's just love." And "love's sensational." (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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