Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert held a love ceremony with her terminally ill partner
The author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, has held a love ceremony with her terminally ill partner Rayya Elias.
In a heart-wrenching Facebook post last year, she also revealed that Elias is terminally ill with pancreatic and liver cancer.
Sharing on Facebook this week, Gilbert says that the pair held their “love ceremony”, not legally binding, surrounded by family and friends.
With a picture of the pair together, Gilbert wrote: “Dear Ones: Over the last year, Rayya Elias and I have been through some really difficult days together—but not today.
“Today was precious and perfect. A simple and spontaneous ceremony of love, surrounded by a small handful of friends and family. Our ceremony was nothing legally binding (no need to alert the authorities, folks!)…just a quiet and private celebration of what we have long known to be true: We belong to each other.”
The novelist, whose most famous work was made into a film with Julia Roberts, last year revealed that she realised she was in love with her best friend Elias when she was diagnosed with incurable liver and pancreatic cancer.
She wrote: “In the moment I first learned of Rayya’s diagnosis, a trap door opened at the bottom of my heart (a trap door I didn’t even know was there) and my entire existence fell straight through that door. From that moment forward, everything became about HER.
“I canceled everything in my life that could be canceled, and I went straight to her side, where I have been ever since.”
An introduction to Elias’ memoir Harley Loco was written by Gilbert.
“Many of you already know who Rayya Elias is to me,” Gilbert wrote.
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“She’s my best friend, yes, but it’s always been bigger than that. She’s my role model, my traveling companion, my most reliable source of light, my fortitude, my most trusted confidante. In short, she is my PERSON.”
Going on, Gibert reveals that she ended her marriage to José Nunes, the man she met, and detailed the beginnings of her relationship with in Eat, Pray, Love.
“Here is where we stand now,” Gilbert wrote.
“Rayya and I are together. I love her, and she loves me. 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.”
She said sie wanted to be able to live openly with Elias, and that she no longer wanted to live in secretly.
“I need to be able to walk into any room in the world with Rayya on my arm, feeling relaxed enough to stand comfortably in simple openness about who we actually are to each other,” she wrote.
“Sure, I could pretend that Rayya is still just my best friend, but that would be … you know … pretending. Pretending is demeaning, and it makes you weak and confused, and it’s also a lot of work. I don’t do that kind of work anymore.”
Of their time together which will be cut short by Elias’ illness, Gilbert added: “Trust me: We will not be wasting a moment of our time together, for as much time as we are given.”