Grieving man plants sunflower maze in memory of daughter killed in car crash
Fauske family(WESTBY, Wisc.) — One man is remembering his daughter in the sunniest way possible.
Matt Fauske planted a sunflower maze in the shape of the signature of his late daughter, Haley Fauske, who was only 18 years old when she died in a car crash in 2015.
He and his two other daughters, Katie and Brittany Fauske, planted a few rows of sunflowers last year in her honor, and this year, he wanted to make it more special for his baby girl. They planted a whopping 600,000 sunflowers to create the maze at their farm, Three Little Birds, named for Fauske’s three daughters.
“They were her favorite,” Matt Fauske told ABC News of the happy flower. “The day she turned 18, she had to have a tattoo, and she got a sunflower on her back shoulderblade. Sunflowers were always her thing. She was sticking them in the ground here and there already. We always knew sunflowers were for her.”
He chatted with his friend Bjorn Berg about his creative idea, and Berg came up with a plan to take it one step further. Instead of just cutting the maze out in the shape of her name, they would cut it in the shape of her signature.
“He asked me to send him a picture of her signature, and four of us went out with a lawnmower, and we knocked it out,” Matt Fauske, 50, said of the homegrown homage.
Visitors from all over the world have traveled to the family’s 8-acre farm in Westby, Wisconsin, to pay their respects.
“We have a board where everyone can sign and we’ve gotten people from Iceland, Austria, Switzerland,” the proud papa recalled. “The board was up for about 30 seconds yesterday and we had about 150 people. Not everybody signs, but I think we’re over 5,000 for the summer.”
However, he doesn’t get to meet them all. The grieving dad said he intentionally tries to stay away from the field when there are lots of visitors because the constant reminder of his daughter’s passing is too much to bear.
“I can’t sit up there because I always hear, ‘Sorry for your loss,’” said Matt Fauske.
He added that his pain never truly goes away, but at least with the sunflowers, “there’s more smiles than there are tears.”
As for the worldwide attention the maze has gotten?
“Haley always said she was going to be famous one day, and here we go Haley. We’re doing it,” her big sister Katie told ABC News.
The family plans to continue the maze next year, and although her dad wasn’t ready to divulge details, he said the family is “going to go a little bit bigger.”
“Haley liked a ruckus,” said Matt Fauske. “This would be right her alley to get people talking.”
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