Since the beginning, Paige Wilson said she has “pretty much been inseparable” from her cousin Hannah Simmons since she was born.
Simmons was the maid of honor at Wilson’s wedding and the godmother of Wilson’s children. The two women were pregnant at the same time and gave birth three weeks apart.
“I went through everything in life with her,” Wilson said. “She’s always been there for me.”
Simmons, 23, of Gainesville and her daughter A’lannah Hopkins died in a car wreck Tuesday afternoon on Friendship Road along with family friend Lauren Buteau, 28, of Gainesville.
Cousin Jeannie Mershon said Simmons had earlier gone to a doctor’s checkup for A’lannah, who was 9 months old.
“She had a heart of pure gold. She would do anything for anybody in a heartbeat without thinking twice about it,” Wilson said.
Simmons’ cousins described her as a “kind, caring person” who was always reliable. Mershon used to babysit Simmons and called her a “happy baby so much like A’lannah.”
“If you were having a bad day, you could go to Hannah, and she would be able to bring a smile to your face in some way and make you see the positive in all of the darkness,” Mershon said.
A’lannah “could light up a room with her smile just like her mama,” Wilson said.
Buteau was as close as family to Simmons’ relatives.
“Lauren was the type of person, she was the life of the party,” Wilson said. “She always knew how to have a good time and how to make everybody laugh.”
Wilson said the family is shocked and heartbroken since learning of the fatal wreck through Georgia State Patrol.
“Honestly, I don’t think it’s really registered,” she said. “I know it hasn’t for me.”
Mershon advised people to “hug their babies and don’t hold grudges.”
Fundraising efforts for the families were set up at gofundme.com/3p7yynk and gofundme.com/lauren-buteau-memorial-fund. There is also an account for Simmons and A’lannah at Memorial Park Funeral Home, which can be reached at 770-287-8227.