The tattoo runs alongside Kevin Hayes’ left forearm, a everlasting reminder of what the Philadelphia Flyers heart is lacking, a solemn quote overlaid by a thick, script J for his late brother that serves as an indelible tribute to a bond he believes isn’t damaged, merely modified.

The inscription Hayes by no means wished to get reads: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

Kevin Hayes is again in Philadelphia and out one other few weeks following belly surgical procedure. He skates on the rink however misses the FaceTime chats with Jimmy on the 20-minute experience dwelling. He doesn’t verify his cellphone as a lot as of late and he’s deeply apologetic over the lots of and lots of of well-meaning texts which have gone unanswered. But he does scroll Kristen’s Instagram account. Her web page is an affectionate, heartbreaking remembrance of photographs and movies of Jimmy Hayes mugging for the digicam in a “dad” hat and walks on the seashore with their oldest son with the caption, “We want you back dadda.”

Kevin laughs when he recollects how his brother and Kristen met at a seafood restaurant on the Boston Waterfront and admires how robust she has remained for sons Beau and Mac by the tragedy. His grief nonetheless so uncooked, Kevin says the boys will at all times know the way a lot Jimmy liked them, how a lot he liked his household.

“I lost my best friend and my brother. She lost her husband and her father to her kids,” Kevin stated. “It’s tough. I can accept what happened, that my brother’s gone and he died. I’m 29 years old and I understand what death is. The thing that I can’t get my head around, the whole, not to get spiritual, but God. Being mad at God.

“I don’t perceive how these two children don’t have a dad anymore. I can’t settle for that. I don’t suppose I ever will.”

He pauses, and adds, “But I additionally take a look at God sending totally different messages.”

A season after missing the playoffs, the Flyers added Dorchester native, Hayes family friend and NHL iron man Keith Yandle along with Jimmy’s Boston College roommate, Cam Atkinson. Two guys who knew the Hayes brothers from back in the day now share a line; Yandle and Hayes are roommates.

The Flyers center called it a sign that both players found their way to Philly in the wake of tragedy.

“We each don’t prefer to be alone, so we’re in a position to hang around day by day,” Yandle said. “It shall be good, too, particularly in the course of the season to have the ability to sit down and watch video games. I feel it’ll be a whole lot of enjoyable. We watch a whole lot of TV, a whole lot of sofa time and a whole lot of laughs.”