On October 7, 2017, Alan Jackson‘s eldest daughter, Mattie, married the love of her life, Ben Selecman. They were married during a gorgeous ceremony held at the Jackson family estate in Franklin, Tennessee.
Southern Bride covered the wedding in detail, and Mattie was the cover girl for the magazine’s 2018 Summer/Fall issue.
But just one month shy of Mattie and Ben’s first anniversary, tragedy struck.
As Mattie explained on the podcast, Jesus Calling, she, Ben, her sisters, their boyfriends, and their friends were on vacation in Florida and took a boat out to get dinner and go dancing. It rained while they were away from the boat, so when they returned, the steps were slick.
Ben hopped up on the boat to help the women in, which is when he slipped and “fell back ten or so feet and hit his head,” Mattie said.
He remained in the hospital for over a week, but his condition worsened. He passed away on September 12 at the age of 28.
“We kept praying, ‘May he be healed and whole.’ And he is, he’s just with Jesus. And that’s the most healed and whole you can be,” Mattie said on the Jesus Calling podcast.
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1 year ago today, I married this joy filled man. 3 weeks ago, we honored him, buried him, and sent him home to the place his heart always longed for. . The way he loved me – though love doesn’t feel like a quite great enough word – was the clearest picture of Christ any woman could ask for. Endless adoration, unbridled pride, and unparalleled forgiveness was a “regular” day being Ben’s wife. He made me better without uttering a critical word and made me laugh without even telling a joke. He asked everyone he met how they were doing, and never once did he ignore or dismiss their answer. He lived the gospel by the way he welcomed and truly saw everyone, every time. Sudden and shattering loss ushers pain I pray no one of any age should have to endure. But there is joy in the promise that though our earthly bodies have ended their time together, Ben’s remarkable and now perfected spirit remains, and will always remain, grafted to mine. And for that I say, thank you Jesus! So for all those who have so graciously grieved for us, who have sent cards and flowers, hugs and prayers, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I must also say, please do not cry any longer. Please celebrate Ben’s ultimate victory and continue to pray for endurance for my heart, as I remember him here and await mine. Cheers to eternity together, baby ????
October 7, 2020 would have been Mattie and Ben’s third anniversary. Mattie devoted a slideshow to him on Instagram and reflected on how wonderful their wedding day was.
” 3 years ago today remains the best day of my life,” she said.
In an emotional line, Mattie confessed she’d marry Ben over and over again even if she was well-aware of how things would turn out.
“I’d do it over again a thousand times knowing how it would end,” she said.
You can read Mattie’s full post about her and Ben’s anniversary below.
Look to the clip below to hear Mattie talk more about her love and loss on the Jesus Calling podcast.
Our hearts go out to Mattie today and always. May Ben rest in peace.