It was a sad start to the New Year for Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Gilbert, the author of the bestselling novel ‘Eat Pray Love’, which was made into a movie starring Julia Roberts. Gilbert’s partner, Rayya Elias, passed away due to liver and pancreatic cancer. The author herself announced the news in a post on her social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) that reads:
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. I loved you so much, Rayya. 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.
On January 1, Elizabeth Gilbert posted this photo of her with Rayya with the caption:
“Happy New Year, everyone. You made it. We made it. Blessed be.”
It was also in a heartbreaking post on social media where Liz announced Rayya’s cancer diagnosis in June 2016. Part of her post reads:
But something happened to my heart and mind in the days and weeks following Rayya’s diagnosis. Death — or the prospect of death — has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. 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.
It was in the same post when Liz publicly admitted that long-time friend Rayya and her were more than friends and are, in fact, in a relationship. She wrote, “Rayya and I have decided together to speak up publicly now—both about her cancer and about our love for each other. It’s for the sake of our own integrity, but it’s also intended to make our lives simpler.”
A month after, Liz announced on July 1, 2016 her separation from, in her own words: “Felipe — the man whom I fell in love with at the end of the EAT PRAY LOVE journey”. Liz and Felipe were together for 12 years and, according to her post, the split was “very amicable” and their reasons are “very personal”, which as she later on admitted was because of Rayya.
Rayya, 57, was also an author. She wrote a memoir in 2013 titled Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair and Post-Punk about her personal journey as a gay Middle Eastern woman moving to the US as a kid and her life on the streets and overcoming drug addiction.
Let’s hope Liz, like in her memoir ‘Eat Pray Love’, will again get over this loss and heartache.
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