What a startling discovery.

A successful entertainment industry celebrity recently passed away. And after he did, the Hollywood Reporter published a letter he wrote in anticipation of that passage into the ever-after.

Following the death of Sherwood Schwartz on Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter has been given a farewell letter titled “A Conversation at the Gates” from the late writer’s family.

The Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch creator penned the goodbye as an account of what he expected to encounter upon reaching “the Pearly Gates” of heaven. In it, Schwartz recalls the day he met wife Mildred, the goals achieved by each of his four children, as well as his own long and rewarding career.

Deacon Greg Kandra calls it a lovely note, and indeed it is.

What’s startling about it is someone…anyone…in the entertainment world or any high-visibility celebrity world contemplating eternal life, and in so tender a way that expresses his love for his family. Writing about it. And then intentionally placing it in hands that will hold it until his passing. It is unusual, to say to least.

And sweet.

He was going to ask at the Gate: ‘Am I going to Heaven or not?’

Then I suddenly realized something when we talked.

Heaven is where I’ve been since the day I was born.

Such gratitude and appreciation, we seldom see or hear. It’s a witness to hope and joy. And an encouragement to be that for others, while we have time.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....