Elizabeth Gilbert Posts Heartbreaking Tribute After Her Partner Dies

by Thea Glassman
Originally Published: 
Image via Instgram/Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s long-time loved passed away.

“Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert announced the passing of her partner Rayya Elias on January 5, by penning a touching tribute to her long-time love on social media. The writer took to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share some heartbreaking words about Elias, who died from cancer at 57.

“I loved you so much, Rayya,” Gilbert wrote. “Thank you for letting me walk with you right to the edge of the river. It has been the greatest honor of my life. I would tell you to rest in peace, but I know that you always found peace boring. May you rest in excitement. I will always love you.”

The author announced Elias’ diagnosis on social media back in September 2016, just a few months after separating from her husband. In a long, deeply candid post, Gilbert opened up about their 15-year friendship, and expressed — for the first time publicly — that she had feelings for her best friend.

“I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya,” she wrote. “And I have no more time for denying that truth. The thought of someday sitting in a hospital room with her, holding her hand and watching her slide away, without ever having let her (or myself!) know the extent of my true feelings for her…well, that thought was unthinkable.”

Gilbert went onto explain that publicly denying her feelings for Elias would be “demeaning,” and make her feel “weak and confused.”

“Here is where we stand now: Rayya and I are together. I love her, and she loves me,” she wrote. “I’m walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend, but as her partner. I am exactly where I need to be — the only place I can be.”

The two held a commitment ceremony in June that wasn’t “legally binding,” Gilbert noted, but was a “private celebration of what we have long known to be true: We belong to each other.”

She added: “More difficult days are to come. It doesn’t get easier from here. Rayya’s illness is grave. But our love is strong. We will walk together as far as we can go together. After that, it all gets turned over to God.”

Sending lots and lots of love Gilbert’s way.

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