Alan Jackson’s daughter discusses coping with grief and healing after being widowed

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — When Mattie Jackson Selecman was widowed just before her first wedding anniversary, everything she had planned for her life was gone. Her husband, Ben Selecman, died in an accident when he slipped and fell, hitting his head on a boat dock.

Selecman was learning to live without her soulmate, and everything in her life was put on hold, including the business she started called NaSHEville.

“You just want to feel like you have some control over something because it was so sad. And so tragic. And not only could I not protect Ben or keep him alive, but I also had the felt like everything we planned and everything I imagined for my life was erased in a second,” Selecman said.

Selecman and his friend Brooke Tometich started NaSHEville just before Ben died. It is an online clothing company that supports local charities.

  • Mattie and Ben Selecman
  • Mattie and Ben Selecman
  • Mattie and Ben Selecman

“She came to me with the idea because she is an adoptive mother. And she wanted to have some sort of revenue stream basically to give back to orphans, foster families, adoption, birth mothers, that sort of thing. And I felt so called like my creative writing degrees, I always wanted to love writing. And at that point, I really felt like I wanted to encourage women somehow,” Selecman said. “So we started building it, decided on the missions, obviously orphans, and as I said, from the scriptures it says to take care of orphans and widows.”

Ben Selecman, who was a district attorney for Davidson County who has worked with trafficking and drug courts, suggested the third assignment. “He said, ‘It’s a really big problem in Nashville, people don’t realize it and if you want to add a third mission, I can put you in touch with the women who run these programs. And that’s what we did and he helped us build some of it, which is so special to me now,” she said.

Ben’s death delayed the launch of NaSHEville, and it also put Selecman in the unfortunate position of being able to understand a widow’s grief, all too well.

“It seems made up,” Selecman said. “Looks like the story isn’t true.”

Working with NaSHEville and writing his book, “Lemons on Friday,” helped Selecman work through his grief and heal. Now she is able to use her pain to help others.

“You learn to carry them with you and you learn to grieve well, and it’s a horrible process to learn that. But when you come out the other side and you can look back and see things like “NaSHEville” you can sit across from people that you gave some hope to on their worst day, that’s the reason for it all.

To support NaSHEville, visit their website here.

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