"Alaina was my little sister. She was my niece from marriage, but she was my friend and my sister from my heart," Tamera said through tears.
The TV personality -- whose niece was among the 12 people killed at the Borderline Bar & Grill shooting earlier this month -- was welcomed back by her co-hosts Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon and Jeannie Mai. When the ladies asked Tamera how she was doing, the "Sister, Sister" star broke down in tears.
"I'm sorry," Tamera said. "Our family's been through a lot, but the interesting thing about grief is that you've gotta find the balance of moving forward and grieving at the same time. It's just been a little over two weeks...she would want me to be here. And she would want me -- sweet Alaina -- to move forward. I don't like to say move on, because I don't think I'll ever move on with the fact that she's not here with me or with our family."
"But she would want me to move forward and to use her voice as a catalyst for change, and that's why I am here today," she continued. "And I just appreciate the outpouring of love and support from everybody. That sweet 18-year-old girl impacted people in such a positive way, and that's how we've been able to move on, the love as my beautiful sister-in-law, Hannah, said at my niece's memorial, 'it's what lifts us and that's what we need more of today in this world, love. Love.'"
Tamera went on to express her appreciation to her co-hosts, her fans and anyone who has reached out to her in support. She explained that the Housley's, her husband's side of the family, are such a "strong" and "tight-knit" group.
"I'm very blessed," she added.
"The Real" then played a photo montage of Alaina, who was a college freshman at the time of her death. One of the photos included a family shot with Tamera's daughter Ariah, 3, sitting on Alaina's lap. Tamera tearfully expressed that Ariah and Alaina were the "best of friends."
"When Alaina would walk in a room she would change the atmosphere," Tamera said. "Alaina was my little sister. She was my niece from marriage, but she was my friend and my sister from my heart."
Bailon then asked Tamera what her thoughts were on how to avoid a similar "horrible and unnecessary tragedy" like the shooting that claimed the life of her niece.
"Where do I begin?" Tamera replied. "It's obvious that we need change when it comes to gun violence. I don't care if I have to knock on the doors of the White House to do it, to advocate change. Alaina was very sweet and loving and kind. She was also a debater. So she would want me to debate that."
"But also, I believe that it starts from within," she continued. "Our country, and it's sad to say this, but you have to be living underneath a rock to not believe these words, our country is sick. It's diseased. It needs healing. It needs healing from within. We're so divided."
Two weeks ago, Tamera posted an Instagram tribute to her niece after learning of her tragic death.
"Alaina. My sweet, sweet Alaina. My heart breaks. I'm still in disbelief. It's not fair how you were taken and how soon you were taken from us."
"I was blessed to know you ever since you were 5. You stole my heart. I will miss our inside jokes, us serenading at the piano," her heartbreaking note continued. "Thank you for being patient with me learning how to braid your hair, and I will never forget our duet singing the national anthem at Napa's soccer game. I love you. I love you. I love you."
She closed her message by writing, "You are gonna make one gorgeous angel. My heart and prayers are with every victim of this tragedy."
View this post on Instagram
Alaina. My sweet, sweet Alaina. My heart breaks. I’m still in disbelief. It’s not fair how you were taken and how soon you were taken from us. I was blessed to know you ever since you were 5. You stole my heart. I will miss our inside jokes, us serenading at the piano. Thank you for being patient with me learning how to braid your hair, and I will never forget our duet singing the national anthem at Napa’s soccer game. I love you. I love you. I love you. You are gonna make one gorgeous angel. My heart and prayers are with every victim of this tragedy.
Tamera's husband Adam Housley, a former Fox News reporter, also expressed grief over the loss of his brother's daughter.
"My sweet, sweet...Alaina. Oh how I miss you. Oh how I miss u. #heartbroken," he tweeted out.
Housley also shared a statement from his brother's family, saying they are "some of the best people you'll ever meet" and Alaina was one of the "most generous people in the world."
In the statement, they said Alaina was "everything we could hope for in a child" and also thanked Ventura County Sheriff's Sergeant Ron Helus' family for their "sacrifice." Helus was one of the first responders to the shooting and died after he was met with gunfire.
My brother Arik and his wife Hannah and my nephew Alex are some of the best people you’ll ever meet. They and Alaina are some of the most generous people in the world...and love their Napa community. This is from them.... pic.twitter.com/y2kyFKfnoO— Adam Housley (@adamhousley) November 9, 2018
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