Mattie Jackson Selecman, a bride for Southern Bride’s Summer/Fall 2018 issue, is the daughter of Alan Jackson. In reality, the publication published a three-part piece about the stunning Mattie and her wedding in October 2017 at the grand home of the couple’s parents.
But regrettably, only a few months after the magazine had featured the account of Mattie’s sweetest day, she experienced her biggest heartbreak.
After a slow-moving courtship, Mattie wed Ben Selecman, the assistant district attorney for Davidson County. Mattie told Southern Bride how the two met. He pursued me until I found the attractive, gregarious, and godly guy I needed.
While spending Labor Day with family and friends on Dad Alan Jackson’s yacht in Florida, Mattie and Ben, who are still newlyweds, had another wonderful day. But in a split second, Mattie and Ben’s lives were irrevocably altered.
Ben tripped and fell on the wet dock while helping a woman get onto a boat, hitting his head. Although it was a long fall, Mattie first believed Ben would be fine. He was awake and standing up. But what might have been a straightforward concussion quickly became far more catastrophic.
After a couple of EMTs who weren’t on duty urged Ben be evaluated, he was brought to the emergency department. When Mattie arrived at the hospital, she was informed that Ben’s brain swelling might necessitate surgery. Ben was initially conscious but in agony and disoriented. However, things suddenly became much worse.
Ben endured procedures, and in order to stop additional harm or deterioration, he was put into a medically induced coma. The medical team and Ben’s family chose to wake him up after 11 days. Although Mattie Jackson, the daughter of Alan Jackson, had mentally prepared herself for extensive therapy, she still had hope for a future with her husband.
Ben suffered strokes and permanent brain damage as a result of a blood clot in his brain shortly after being awakened. Less than a day later, Godly and gentlemanly Ben Selecman passed away, leaving Mattie, then only 28 years old, a widow.
Mattie has grappled with the questions that loss and sadness bring over the years following Ben’s passing. If God is capable of anything, she has questioned why he would have permitted such a thing to occur. She has pondered her future after making numerous plans that have since been abandoned. Even sharing her thoughts and feelings with friends and family has been difficult for her.
Because she founded NaSHEville, a nonprofit that helps orphans, widows, and victims of human trafficking, Mattie is aware that this world is a sinful place. Ironically, Mattie launched NaSHEville right before Ben passed away.
Alan Jackson’s daughter Mattie penned her narrative in an effort to frankly and really answer such questions. Lemons on Friday, her new memoir, is her attempt to make amends for the awful things that have transpired in her life.
“My biggest wish is for people to simply take my narrative at face value. The sole purpose of this book is to demonstrate how, even though you can suffer in the presence of God, there is a way to prevent that suffering from overwhelming you.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”