Alan Jackson’s Daughter Speaks on How She Leaned on Her Faith After Her Husband Passed Away

by Keeli Parkey

In times of real sadness or crisis, faith is something many people lean on to help them make it through. For Mattie Jackson Selecman, one of Alan Jackson’s daughters, it was her faith that helped her cope after a tragic event.

According to Taste of Country, this tragic event was the untimely death of her husband, Ben Selecman. Mattie and Ben had been married for less than a year – 11 months – when he shockingly passed away on Sept. 12, 2018.

While the couple was celebrating Labor Day that year on Alan Jackson’s boat, Ben fell. The fall took place as Ben was assisting someone as they boarded the country star’s boat. According to Mattie, he slipped and hit his head.

“It was a pretty long fall, but you know, it was one of those things where it’s almost like watching somebody play high school football, where they shake it off,” Mattie Jackson Selecman told PEOPLE. “They’re awake and they start to get back up and maybe they have a mild concussion or whatever.”

Unfortunately, Ben was later hospitalized and put in a medically-induced coma. The coma lasted for 11 days. Doctors then decided to begin bringing Alan Jackson’s son-in-law out of the coma. Mattie and their family were hoping this would put Ben on the road to recovery. Sadly, it was not to be.

Just after he woke up, Ben Selecman had several strokes. He also suffered serious brain damage. This was reportedly caused by a blood clot in his cranium. Next, Ben’s heart started to fail and he soon passed away.

“You can’t ever imagine that high of a high and that low of a low within a three-minute window. And from there, it was less than 24 hours before his heart started to fail,” Mattie Jackson Selecman also shared.

Alan Jackson’s Daughter Shares Her Thoughts About God Following the Death of Her Husband

Coping with the death of her husband was incredibly difficult for Mattie Jackson Selecman. And she said she really didn’t know how to talk to others about how she was feeling. So, she decided to start writing a book. The finished product is her new title, “Lemons on Friday: Trusting God Through My Greatest Heartbreak.”

In this book – which includes a forward by Alan Jackson and his wife, Debbie Jackson – Mattie Jackson Selecman writes about the questions she had about God and her faith following Ben’s death. Like many people in her situation, she wondered why God allowed her husband to die.

“This is a story about how you go about honestly grieving something that is heartbreaking, that you know God could have stopped,” the 31-year-old explained. “And for some reason, He didn’t, and you have to grapple with that. It’s also about the many question marks you might have in your future, when you find that so many of your plans have been undone. How do you process that honestly, but also not lose hope.”

Through all of these difficult questions, however, Mattie continued to lean on her faith. She was able to do so, she said, because “there is a way to not let that hurt overcome you because of the hope of who He is.”