NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — When Mattie Jackson Selecman became a widow 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 that was so sad. And so tragic. And not only could I not keep Ben safe or keep him alive, but I also felt like everything we’d planned and everything I pictured for my life was erased in a second,” said Selecman.

Selecman and her friend Brooke Tometich, started NaSHEville right before Ben’s death. It’s an online apparel company that supports local charities.

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

“She came to me with the idea because she’s an adoptive mom. And she wanted to have some sort of revenue stream essentially to give back to orphans, foster care, adoption, birth moms, that sort of stuff. And it just felt so called to it like my degrees creative writing, I’ve always wanted to like write. And at this point, I really felt like I want to encourage women in some way,” said Selecman. “So we started building it decided on the missions, obviously orphans, and as I said, from scripture, it says, take care of orphans and widows.”

Ben Selecman, who was a district attorney for Davidson County, worked with trafficking and drug courts, suggested the third mission. “He said, This is a really bad problem in Nashville, people don’t realize and if y’all want to add a third mission, I can put you in touch with the women who run these programs. And so we did and he helped us build up part 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 to be able to understand a widow’s grief, all too well.

“It sounds made up,” said Selecman. “It like sounds like the story is not true.”

Working with NaSHEville and writing her book, “Lemons on Friday,” have helped Selecman navigate her grief and heal. Now, she’s able to use her pain to help others.

“You learn how to carry them with you and you learn how to grieve well, and it’s a horrible process to learning that. But when you come out on the other side and can look back and see things like ‘NaSHEville,’ you can sit across the table from people who you’ve given a little hope to on their worst day. That’s the reason for everything.”

To support NaSHEville, visit their website here.