A Life Scattered Along Dusty Roads and City Lights: In Loving Memory of a Dear Friend, Christy Kopacz Hayes (1967-2008)

I am deeply saddened to write today about the loss of a friend, Christy Kopacz Hayes, who truly touched my life. There are a few cherished people who I know only online, who are far from me in terms of distance but close to me at heart. Christy is one of them. Even now, she is far, but I know she will always be close. She wrote this to me via email, August 28th, 2006: "Oh how I wish we lived closer so we could hang out and do things together! It's so strange that you are so far yet I feel so close to you. Feels like we have been friends forever." And still, it feels that way.

For over eight years I have exchanged emails with this incredibly sweet, thoughtful, kindhearted, and loving person. Those words don't even come close to describing just how passionate she was for life and for the people she met during her time here. She has been there for me through the roughest patches of my life, as well as the brightest ones. It's so hard to believe that she's gone.

I spent some time going through old emails today, and it seemed fitting to include a couple of poems that she wrote and shared with me.


My life
dusty roads
and city

My soul
by monsters
promised me
their lives
but took

My tears
down my face
in their

My heart
removed from my
by a

And another of her poems:


You exist in me
inside my skin
I feel your life
moving within

Sinuous, serpentine
trail ablaze
moving languidly
i'm lost in your gaze

You kiss my soul
caress my heart
time stalled
we're never apart

My hunger for you
exists on it's own
separate from me
i'm never alone

Pour into me
all that you are
waiting ardently
i'll never be far

...and finally a short one that she sent to me from work one day last April. This one, she said, was about me:

thoughts of you
break the monotony of my day
I take a second
to let my mind play
what if you were to
whisk me away?
the phone rings
my smile fades
it's just another day...

I hope more of her work sees the light of day. I hope her loved ones find journals filled with poems just like the ones above, and I hope they share them with the world.

And lastly, her obituary, published in the Reno Gazette-Journal on November 5th, 2008:

Christy Kopacz Hayes passed away on Friday, October 31, 2008 in Reno, NV. Christy was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma on December 17, 1967 to James and Sandy Kopacz.

Shortly after coming to Reno 9 years ago she began working at Harrah's Casino. She is remembered for being a loving, uplifting and funny person with a contagious laugh. Christy's favorite hobbies were cats and Animal Ark of Reno.

She is survived by her husband, Stan; her parents, James and Sandy Kopacz of Reno, NV and a brother, Mike Kopacz of Fort Worth, TX.

Visitations will be held on Friday, November 7, 2008 from 6 - 8 p.m. and also on Sunday, November 9, 2008 from 12 noon - 2 p.m. Funeral Services will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Ross, Burke and Knobel Mortuary, 2155 Kietzke Lane. In lieu of flowers, donations are asked to be sent to the Animal Ark of Reno, PO Box 60057, Reno, NV 89506. We invite you to send a condolence message in the "Remembrance Registry Guestbook" at the website of: www.rossburkeknobel.com.

She will be greatly missed by her family, her Harrah's family and the many friends she has made.

You'll be missed forever, Christy. I am just one of many who were touched by the incredible person that you were.

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