Last week, Tamera Mowry and Adam Housley's niece was one of the twelve innocents who were murdered in a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks.
Aiaina Housley did not live to visit Tamera's son's sixth birthday..
Tamera shared a heartbreaking photo of the cousins and revealed how her very young son is coping with her passing.
Tamera Mowry took to Instagram to mark the bittersweet occassion of her son's sixth birthday.
She shared a photo of the two cousins together, below.
"Happy 6th birthday Aden!" Tamera wrote in the captions.
On a sadder note, she continued: "Alaina was excited to come to your birthday party."
"But," she concluded. "As you said buddy, 'She lives in your heart now.'"
"We love you," she added -- to Aden, but also to Alaina.
Here is the picture of the two cousins, side-by-side.
Obviously, only days have passed since that heartbreaking mass shooting in Thousand Oaks.
"Alaina. My sweet, sweet Alaina," Tamera lamented in another post. "My heart breaks."
"I’m still in disbelief," Tamera admits.
Few people are truly prepared to lose loved ones, especially a teenager.
"It’s not fair how you were taken," Tamera mourns. "And how soon you were taken from us."
Alaina was a college freshman at Pepperdine University. She was an English Major.
"I was blessed to know you ever since you were 5," Tamera continues.
She says that, from the beginning, "you stole my heart."
"I will miss our inside jokes," Tamera writes. "Us serenading at the piano."
"Thank you for being patient with me learning how to braid your hair," Tamera adds.
This is just heartbreaking to read.
"And," Tamera says. "I will never forget our duet singing the national anthem at Napa’s soccer game."
These personal anecdotes and details are what really twist the knife, even for people who never even knew of Alaina before she died.
Tamera makes it clear that her love has not diminished simply because her beloved niece has passed away.
"I love you. I love you. I love you," Tamera emphasizes.
She continues: "You are gonna make one gorgeous angel."
That is so sweet.
Tamera then extends her sympathies to the others who were murdered, or wounded, or traumatized, or lost loved ones in that same shooting.
"My heart and prayers are with every victim of this tragedy," Tamera concludes.
As difficult as it is for Tamera, Adam, and the other adults in Alaina's life ... death is harder for children.
Children are more resilient than people imagine, but also lack perspective and coping abilities that come with age and maturity.
We're sure that Temera and Adam, even as they grieve Alaina for themselves, are doing everything to help Aden cope with losing his cousin.
By all accounts, this was a close family, and it may take time for him to accept that she's truly no longer with us.
In the mean time, it is up to us as a nation to determine whether mass shootings like the one that claimed Alaina's life continue to be an almost daily occurrence.
We absolutely can, as other nations like Australia have done, simply decide that this nightmare will no longer be commonplace.