As family of Tyler Hilinski grieves, an ESPN writer shares in its sorrow

The Mark and Kym Hilinski who will appear on Outside the Lines on Friday (SportsCenter on ESPN at noon ET) have made a long journey since I profiled them in September 2018. They continue to grieve Tyler, their middle son, the Washington State quarterback who died by suicide in January of that year. But their grief is no longer so raw, the pain and hurt and bewilderment no longer so plain on their faces. Time, nature’s plastic surgery, is performing its healing and cosmetic tasks.

They are healing; they never will be healed. But time is undefeated, relentless in its insistence that life continue, no matter what or whom we have lost. The Hilinskis didn’t just move on. They moved — from Orange County to South Carolina, three time zones and 2,400 miles. It sounds hollow to say they moved there to watch their youngest son, Ryan, play quarterback for the University of South Carolina. They moved together, as a family — Mark, Kym and their son Kelly — to support Ryan. But that support runs in both directions. The best tonic for the four of them is to remain physically close.

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Ivan Maisel

ESPN Senior Writer

Photo;  AP Photo/Chris Carlson