It’s always hard when a family member passes away, especially when they were a loved one who meant a lot to you. You want to memorialize them, but these days even getting to a funeral service can be a challenge.
But recently, one man found a very special way to pay a heartfelt tribute to his late aunt — with the help of some beautiful sheep.
Ben Jackson, a farmer from New South Wales, Australia, was devastated to learn that his beloved aunt Debra Cowdery had died following a battle with cancer.
“My aunty had a tremendously generous soul,” he told The Washington Post. “She was one of these types of people that never, ever forgot a birthday — you know, the type of person that just gets it, that just has that huge heart.”
Making things even worse, Ben realized he wouldn’t even be able to attend the funeral in Queensland to say goodbye to “Aunty Deb,” due to travel restrictions.
“There was no way I could get up there and see her, say cheerio, or go to the funeral,” he told the BBC. “So I felt hopeless, helpless – I didn’t really know what to do.”
But soon, he realized there was a very special way he could pay tribute to his aunt, right from his own farm — and recruited his loyal flock of sheep to pull it off.
His idea: use the sheep to form a giant heart!
As a sheep herder, Ben has previously used his flock to make works of “sheep art,” like having the sheep spell out “Merry Xmas” at Christmastime, according to the Post.
But it’s safe to say that the giant heart — which he says still “pales in comparison” to that of his loving aunt — is his most special and personal.
The beautiful stunt was so huge, requiring the organization of dozens of pregnant ewes. Ben says he arranged it by laying out their food in the form of the heart shape, though it took a few efforts.
It was so massive that it required a fly-over by a video-recording drone just to capture the moment. “I just hope that when I did it, she was having a peep through the clouds and was able to see it,” he told 7News.
The video, shared to Twitter by a relative, has now been viewed over a million times.
The video is set to Simon and Garfunkel’s classic “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” a favorite tune of the deceased.
“It was one of her all-time favourite songs and… when I saw it like that, I’ll be the first to admit that it was like I had chopped a tonne of onions. It was pretty emotional,” Ben told BBC.
“She would be proud as punch to see so many people smiling and enjoying the heart I’ve made for her. It’s just love. Love’s sensational.”
And beyond being a special tribute to his own relative, Ben says that the video has resonated with people who have been separated from their own relatives over the past year.
“I think one of the reasons that it has resonated is the fact that we all need to give each other a sort of a virtual hug,” he told The Post. “We need to share the love a bit, because we were missing out on those milestones — we’re missing out on births, we’re missing out on saying goodbye to our loved ones, and even birthdays or graduations.”
What a beautiful tribute. We’re sure “Aunty Deb” is up there, looking down and smiling. Share this amazing story!