Connected Episode 10: Family is who you make it
In the AOL Originals series, "Connected," New Yorkers film themselves without the interruption of camera crews in a fresh twist on the unscripted format.
One of the most touching moments in the series happens in episode 10, when cast member Lori Levine receives a surprise package from her estranged sister. Nine minutes into the video, Levine tells her fiancé, Jan van Arsdale, that she waited to open the box in front of him.
"Sunny and I haven't seen or spoken to each other in ten years, since Helene passed away," she tells him, referencing how their relationship has stalled since the death of their other sister.
As Levine reads the letter aloud, she is moved to tears by the touching gift she received: a strip of lace from her deceased sister Helene's wedding dress. Sunny wanted to give Levine a wedding gift that symbolized their sister, and stated in her letter accompanying the package:
"I received a call recently from cousin Vicki, that she was in possession of Helene's wedding dress. I know that if our sister were still alive, she would be as thrilled for you as I am for finding the man of your dreams. But since that is not possible, I took some lace from her dress and I thought you might want to incorporate it in some small way at your wedding so you can feel her presence and love with you. I wish you love and happiness. You very much deserve it."
"I'm a little stunned," Levine says as she takes in the gravity of the gift.
Eighteen minutes into the video, Levine and Sunny have a reunion over the phone. After, Levine recounts the special message she received from Helene before she died.
"We had to put her into a medically induced coma. So I gave her a journal and a pen, and she started to write goodbye letters to everyone," Levine remembers. "And the one she wrote to me said, "Family is who you make it."
Reflecting on the significance of the gift and Helene's message as she prepares to unite families with her fiancé, Levine says, "Who knew, just a little piece of fabric... will tie us all together."
Watch more episodes of "Connected:" https://www.aol.com/connected
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