Writer Elizabeth Gilbert is in mourning. On Thursday, January 4, the Eat, Pray, Love author shared the heartbreaking news that her longtime best friend and partner Rayya Elias passed away at the age of 57 this week.
“She was my love, my heart, my best friend, my teacher, my rebel, my angel, my protector, my challenger, my partner, my muse, my wizard, my surprise, my gift, my comet, my liberator, my rock star, my completely impossible non-cooperator, my otherworldly visitor, my spiritual portal, and my baby,” Gilbert wrote affectionately. “I loved you so much, Rayya.”
Gilbert called the couple’s last days together the “honor of [her] life,” and thanked Elias for the time they had. “I would tell you to rest in peace, but I know that you always found peace boring,” she wrote. “May you rest in excitement. I will always love you.”
Elias was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer in 2016. At the time, Gilbert penned a personal Facebook post saying that the news had made her realize she loved her best friend as more than a friend.
“So. Here is where we stand now: Rayya and I are together,” she wrote. “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.”
Months prior, Gilbert had split from her husband Jose Nunes. She later confirmed that her new relationship with Elias was the reason for the split. In June, Gilbert and Elias informally wed in what they described as not a legally binding ceremony, but simply a celebration of their love.
Earlier this week, the couple rang in 2018 together after a difficult year, a milestone Gilbert marked with a sweet photo. “Happy New Year, everyone. You made it. We made it. Blessed be. #2018,” she captioned the pic.
Our thoughts go out to Gilbert at this time.
(photo via Noam Galai/Getty Images)