Alan Jackson‘s daughter, Mattie Selecman, opens up about the tragic loss of her husband, attorney Ben Selecman, after less than a year of marriage, in her upcoming book, Lemons on Friday. The book became Selecman’s way of dealing with her grief, and grappling with her faith in the midst of so much sorrow.
“When I lost my husband, the only way I really knew to process it was to write,” Selecman shares. “I grew up in a songwriting family and it came to a point where I thought that if this is cathartic for me, maybe hearing me talk about my grief and my faith and its role in that would be cathartic for somebody else. By His grace, it’s now a book that’s coming out next month.”
Selecman’s husband passed away in 2018 from injuries sustained as the result of a fall on a boat dock. Her grief was still very raw, and very real, while penning Lemons on Friday.
“It was certainly not easy, but I think real healing never is,” she reflects. “It takes courage. And as we know, again God’s grace and strength to do it. But I remember reading C.S. Lewis’s memoir, when he lost his wife. I finally felt like everything in me that I didn’t know how to express was on paper in his book. And I thought, if mine can do this for other people, then it’s gotta be out there, and it’s gotta be honest and transparent. I can’t hold anything back.”
Selecman and her family prayed fervently for her husband to be healed, acknowledging that her faith was severely tested when those prayers weren’t answered, at least in the way she wanted them to be.
“For so long I wanted the answers to that,” Selecman concedes. “I wanted something from Him, like an explanation. I think that’s so natural when you really know He’s good. But I think trading in this desire for answers, and exchanging that for just choosing trust. I say in the book, you choose trust over understanding, and that’s when you start to lean on Him and you start to trust Him, and you start to feel like maybe there’s a purpose in this pain, even if I don’t get an answer to the why.”
Selecman not only dealt with her own grief, but felt another level of grief in watching her parents be powerless to shield their eldest daughter from her deep sorrow.
“I can’t experience that pain,” the 31-year-old reflects. “I’m not a mother yet, but I think especially when you’ve been able to provide everything that you feel your kids ever need and want, when you’re truly left helpless, there’s nothing to do to fix it. It just made me hurt for them because I knew they would give anything in their own lives to make this different for me. And so it honestly was a season of real bonding for our family in a way that we had never suffered this sort of tragedy together. We all dealt with it and hurt and were angry and came back to the Lord in different ways. But it’s really beautiful to survive together.”