Ben Jackson, a sheep farmer, from Guyra, couldn’t come to Brisbane to be with his auntie during her last minutes following a two-year battle with cancer that started toward the beginning of the pandemic.
He was unfortunately stuck in lockdown in New South Wales and sadly wasn’t able to go to his auntie’s memorial service. However, that didn’t stop him from honoring her with his sheep. Helping his sheep to create a love heart, and capturing the moment on video.
“Unfortunately, she didn’t make it,” Jackson said. “At those times of grief, you feel really helpless, you don’t know what to do, what to say. Especially in these covid times, no one can prepare for that border closure grief, not being able to say cheerio or be there when she passes. It’s pretty difficult.”
Jackson said that the thought for her giant heart came to him while he was out taking care of his sheep as he normally does and while he was feeding them “supplementary tucker” as they are “quite pregnant and need a bit of extra TLC”.
In reality, creating the heart took “three or four” tries before he got it just right, Jackson said, with his initial endeavors ending up with more to be desired.
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“The first time I tried it looked like the sh*t emoji, I tell you, and whilst my Aunty Deb had a good sense of humor, that wasn’t exactly what I was going for,” he said.
However, this didn’t stop him from wanting to create some sort of tribute, so he pushed on.
Having made the heart, the video was shot by a drone and shipped off to his family in Brisbane so it may very well be overlaid to Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water and played at his aunties’ memorial service after all.
“When I saw the final product I would be the first to admit that there was plenty of waterworks,” Jackson noted. “It was very lovely to have it as part of a sendoff. It was certainly something that she would have loved and absolutely cherished.”
He also said that he initially began making his sheep art during a past dry season when he took care of his sheep from the flatbed of his truck day to day.
Before long, he learned that he was able to make his sheep gather in such a formation, that he could make shapes on his land.
“And they haven’t forgotten yet,” he said.
In the past, Jackson has made different shapes such as a giant ABC logo, however, he focused on the tribute which was exclusively for his aunt Deb.
“I completely get I’m not Robinson Crusoe, I’m not the only person who’s doing it tough with lockdown and borders and covid,” he said. “It’s a very, very challenging time. And knowing my Aunty Deb, if this sheep art – if it brought a smile to even one person’s face, she would be a very proud aunty,” he continued. “Certainly the reaction online has been such that, yeah, hey there’s a lot of people doing it tough and need a smile on their dial.”