Kathi’s Smile by Dan Lewis

Kathi's Smile

I see so much in Kathi Goertzen’s smile.
KOMO TV came up with a cute idea a few years ago for those of us on the air to hand out cards, like baseball cards, at the annual Mariner’s Fan Fest as SAFECO Field.
Since Kathi passed away in August I’ve had her collectors card at my desk, propped up to my computer screen. It’s not just because of the card, but I feel Kathi’s presence in our newsroom every day.

Today, I’ve been looking a little more closely at Kathi’s picture on the card… and looking at her smile.
I see so much in Kathi Gortzen’s smile.

At first I see kindness and caring. Kathi truly and deeply cared about the people in her life. She was so often more concerned about her family and friends than she was about herself. Even when she was in some of the most frightening struggles with her brain tumors.

I see beauty in her smile. Kathi was a stunning looking woman but it’s the beauty inside, the beauty in her soul, that I remember most. She gave so much to the Western Washington community that she so dearly loved. She gave by volunteering countless hours to Children’s Hospital, the YWCA and many other organizations and she gave by doing her job. One of the main reasons Kathi became a journalist was her desire to make her “home” a better place… by investigative journalism, by doing stories about the homeless, juvenile justice, Orcas, politics… the list goes on and on. But in all those stories you could tell Kathi wanted the best for the Seattle area.

Kathi’s smile reminds me of her courage. Remarkable courage. She never hid from the tumors that at first knocked her down temporarily, then damaged her nerves and disfigured her face and ultimately took her from us. She never hid… and whenever she could she smiled. She smiled at her daughters with a smile that said “be brave.” She smiled at me with a smile that said “don’t worry about me Dan.” And she smiled in front of our t-v cameras with a smile that said to everyone “thank you so much for your love, support and prayers.”

And now, when I look at Kathi’s picture at my desk and I see her smile, there are times it brings tears to my eyes… but it usually makes “me” smile. And it makes me want to help carry on her legacy and her dream to find a cure for the brain tumors that were so cruel to her because I know that would make Kathi smile.