Unable to attend her funeral, he came up with an alternative way to honor her.
Did you hear the one about the Australian farmer? While that may sound like the set-up for a joke, Canberra sheep farmer Ben Jackson's story is actually a sweet one.
According to the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), what started as a hobby during the 2018 drought ended in a sweet tribute for Jackson's "very special" aunt, "Aunty Deb," whose recent funeral he could not attend due to COVID-19 border restrictions. Jackson's "sheep art," which has variously taken the form of the names of his favorite bands or a rallying cry for his favorite rugby team, served a greater purpose last week.
When his aunty passed away after a two-year battle with cancer, Jackson found himself on the wrong side of a closed state border, due to pandemic restrictions. "You feel a bit helpless on the farm," he told the ABC. "You want to be giving the family hugs and sharing the love."
So he took to the fields, reviving his "sheep art" by creating a sheep heart: he laid out grain by hand in a heart shape and let "his hungry animals ... do the rest of the work," according to NPR.
It took "three or four" attempts, he told the Guardian. “The first time I tried it looked like the shit emoji, I tell you, and whilst my Aunty Deb had a good sense of humour, that wasn’t exactly what I was going for,” he said.
He eventually got it right, though, and told the ABC, "My aunty loved coming down to the farm and poking around, so I just thought a heart for her would be very appropriate."
Ben and a mob of singles organised a tribute to his Aunty pic.twitter.com/R33SuN6YoK— James Jackson (@guyrajack) August 24, 2021
“It’s completely busted me not being able to say cheerio, but it is what it is I guess,” he told 7 News in Sydney. Still, he said, "if this just brings a smile to just one person’s face, she’d be one very proud aunty right now. I just hope that when I did it, she was having a peep through the clouds and was able to see it."
We're really touched by this sweet story. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!