When Jackie Hance and her husband lost their three daughters in a horrifying two-car crash nearly four years ago, she didn't think should could go on with her own life – much less have another child.
But now, four years after the infamous accident on the Taconic State Parkway in New York, Hance credits the birth of her daughter, Kasey Rose, with bringing joy and purpose back into her life.
“She brings a heartbeat to this house again,’’ Hance tells the Today Show's Ann Curry in the first interview since her daughters's deaths. “There was none. She brought us back to life.’’
Kasey Rose's birth is made all the more unlikely by the fact that Hance had had her tubes tied after the birth of her third daughter. However, she and her husband, Warren, visited a fertility specialist, and she was able to become pregnant.
In July 2009, the three Hance girls – Emma, 8; Alyson, 7; and Katie, 5 – went on a camping trip with their aunt, Diane Schuler, and her husband, Danny.
On the way home, Schuler drove nearly two miles in the wrong direction on the Taconic State Parkway at speeds as high as 85 miles per hour with five children in her car and a blood-alcohol level more than two times the legal limit and marijuana in her system.
Schuler's minivan eventually collided with an SUV, killing her and seven others, including her three nieces and her own daughter as well as Michael and Guy Bastardi and Daniel Longo, who were riding in the SUV. Only Diane’s 5-year-old son, Bryan, survived.
The agony of the months that followed brought Hance close to taking her own life.
“I just wanted to be with the girls so bad that I got so emotional and so fixated on seeing them again,’’ she told the Today Show. “So the thought of being in this pain forever was just too much to handle. I'd been putting a few pills away from each prescription, and taking one or two from Warren's, and just hiding them.”
To honor their daughters’ memory, they started the Hance Family Foundation, which helps young girls build confidence and self esteem. Hance has also written a new memoir, out this week, called "I'll See You Again," to tell the story of how she grappled with her overwhelming grief, and how she's found the strength to go on.