After coping with a terrible loss, it might seem like your world has ended. But there are times when things occur in order to remind you that there’s a silver lining to every cloudy day. And for this family of mourners, it was practically a miracle.
A horrible accident had left two families grieving over the loss of three of their youngest family members. It seemed impossible to find comfort or relief. But then, a photograph taken by a stranger wound up restoring their faith that their loved ones were okay and had found peace.
23-year-old Hanna Simmons from Gainesville, Georgia recently moved in with her fiance, Javont’e Hopkins, to care for their baby girl, A’lannah. The child was very bright and was growing fast. She was also crawling all over the place, which meant that the young family was super busy, and their lives were about to get busier.
Hannah had just found out that she was pregnant again. And while the family wasn’t exactly rich, she and Javont’e worked a lot to ensure that their kids had everything they needed. Hannah was quite responsible and made sure to spend as much time as possible looking after her daughter. But now that she was with child, she had some needs also.
On April 25, 2017, Hannah went to her scheduled doctor’s appointment for her prenatal checkup.The appointment was in the morning, and Javont’e was at work, so she asked Lauren Buteau, her friend, to join her and watch A’lannah while the doctor examined her. What she didn’t realize was that it was a life-altering day for all of them.
The doctor’s office was located in Hall County, so they had to take Georgia Highway 347. But since it was a weekday and in the morning, she expected there to be a lot of traffic from people trying to get to work. Then again, she needed to see her doctor, so they drove, unsure of what to expect.
Hannah, A’lannah, and Lauren never made it to the doctor’s appointment. Somewhere along the way, Hannah had lost control of the Subaru Legacy she was driving. According to Georgia State Patrol, Hannah crossed the median and spun onto the opposing lane. A white truck, who was unable to brake in time, crashed head on into Hannah´s vehicle. The tragic moment was instantaneous.
The driver of the white truck survived without a scratch, but probably because the vehicle was sturdy. Unfortunately, Hannah and Lauren were killed at the scene, and baby A’lannah eventually passed away while in the hospital. In one day, two families lost two mothers and one baby. It wasn’t difficult to empathize with the horrible grief that these people were forced to experience.
When local news outlets tried reaching out to Lauren and Hannah’s families, not everyone was ready and able to talk about it. The few who did spoke of the emptiness that had been left by the deaths of these two women. Most of them felt as if they couldn’t continue living. But then, an unexpected source threw them a significant lifeline.
When 19-year-old Anisa Gannon was stuck in traffic on the day of the accident, she was afraid she would get in trouble. So, she took pictures of the scene of the crash to prove to her boss that her tardiness was really beyond her control. But days later, she noticed something incredible as she went through the photos carefully.
In one of the photographs, it showed paramedics walking around the scene of the accident. But she noticed an odd glare in the middle, and the amazing thing was, it wasn’t a glare at all. It was like a beam of light stretching from the crash site all the way to the sky, with an orb-like shape inside. Unsure of what it was, Gannon decided to have her aunt take a look.
Tara Noble, who was Gannon’s aunt, had a simpler explanation for the light in the photo. “It looks like a pathway to heaven,” she noted. Being the rational person that she was, Gannon assumed it was a reflection on her windshield. But she figured out that the grieving families should see for themselves.
Judy Simmons, who was Hannah’s mother, was having a rough time dealing with her daughter and grandbaby’s death. So, when Gannon showed her the photograph, she left like a great weight had been lifted off of her. She said, “I just needed something to show me that they were in Heaven and that they were OK. And that was my confirmation.” But she wasn´t the only member of the family who found comfort.
Fox News interviewed Lauren’s aunt, Jodi Carter, who held a printout of Gannon’s photo, which she framed. She told them what the orb and beam of light represented to her: “I see God taking them up to heaven. Their spirits, their orbs, are up there. No other explanation.” Regardless of what we might think, the photo certainly had a huge positive impact on the otherwise grieving families.
The story of Gannon’s photo garnered some serious attention nationwide. Javont’e was struggling with A’lannah and Hannah’s funeral costs, so in order to help him, a fundraising campaign was created. And with the media coverage, donations poured in. But the photo provided something more valuable than the financial benefits it brought.
There may definitely be a more logical explanation behind the beam of light seen in Gannon’s photo. But when you’re grieving the death, especially, a young and innocent baby, explanations become irrelevant. Sometimes, you just need some kind of proof that not everything in life turns out as dark as it appears to. Fortunately, this photo gave the Simmons and the Buteaus that peace of mind and that’s something that’s totally priceless.