Mother of Chandler woman killed in crash holds bird release in her honor

Posted at 8:49 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-24 00:38:17-05

The mother of a Chandler woman hit and killed by a red-light runner earlier this month held a bird release in her honor Wednesday night.

Pamela Hesselbacher was cremated Wednesday morning, and her family paid tribute to her life by releasing new life out into the world. 

Hesselbacher's mother, Jody Kieran, is a bird rehabilitation specialist who has been taking care of animals for more than 20 years. She said she couldn't think of a better way to remember her daughter. 

"It was kind of a celebration of her life," Kieran said. 

Kieran said the day was full of tears, but it also brought new life. The owl egg that she found in a nest in an abandoned building is now ready to fly. 

"You raise them up and teach them the best you can," Kieran said. "Then one day, you have to send them out into the world and you hope the world is kind."

Hesselbacher’s younger sister, Kaleigh, also released an owl of her own. 

"Getting to see such a majestic creature go out into the world-- it's almost like seeing my sister's spirit being lifted into the sky," Kaleigh said. 

Kaleigh has expressed that she is trying to focus on the positive. Hesselbacher’s two children, Ryan and Audrey, survived the crash and are getting stronger each day. 

"There's so much life that's still going on, and that's something to look forward to," Kaleigh said.

Ryan is back home, walking again and just started rehab on Wednesday. His little sister, Audrey, is off of her ventilator and may be out of the hospital intensive care unit by this weekend. 

Even though her life was cut short, Hesselbacher’s family is doing its best to keep her memory alive and remember how lucky they are to have known her. 

"You get the chance to live and fly on time in your life, and it's pretty awesome," Kieran said.