Eat Pray Love Author Comes Out in Most Heart-Wrenching Way
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert, 47, best known for her book Eat, Pray, Love, revealed on her Facebook page on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 that she is in love with her best friend of fifteen years—fellow authoress, former punk rock musician/hairdresser, Rayya Elias—who is dying of pancreatic and liver cancer.
The Sydney Morning Herald profiled the two last year. They were described as holding hands, fixing each other’s hair and generally displaying “a kind of intimacy only found in female friendships and, even then, not always."
Gilbert found out about Elias’s cancer in the spring of this year, and immediately had a revelation of her love. Her whole life became about Elias and she has not left her side since. The thought of losing Elias became unbearable for Gilbert, and something had to be done. Transparency is number one to both women, and Gilbert didn’t want to live in secrecy anymore. She had to make her relationship with Elias public, so she told the truth.
"I need to live my life in truth and transparency, even more than I need privacy, or good publicity, or prudence, or other people's approval or understanding, or just about anything else," she wrote. "So that is why 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."
The note Elizabeth Gilbert posted on Facebook is a poetic expression of that love, full of heart-wrenching emotions. “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 said in her post.
Gilbert has written that her newfound feelings for Elias caused the end of her marriage to José Nunes, who she met during her travels that she wrote about in Eat, Pray, Love (represented in the novel as the character, Felipe). It was an amicable divorce,
Even though Gilbert doesn’t outwardly identify as specifically lesbian or bisexual, her Facebook note was clearly a coming-out letter.
It now stands that Rayya and Gilbert are together. They are in love and Gilbert will stick by her side until the end. They are not just friends, but partners and they both feel that they are exactly where they are supposed to be.
They do not wish to receive information about treatments or miracle cures. Not only are they bogged down in way too much information from all their friends, family and doctors, Elias has chosen her own path through her cancer and they wish for others to respect that. “If any of you kind souls out there are tempted right now to send me or Rayya information about treatments or cures for pancreatic or liver cancer,” Gilbert begins, “I gently and respectfully beg you to restrain yourselves.”
Gilbert asked for nothing but love in the conclusion of her touching post on Facebook. "Whatever extra love you might be carrying around in your hearts right now, could you direct some this way?" she asked. "We will resonate with it, and we will thank you for it. Because truth is the force that guides us to where we need to be in life, but love is the power that heals us once we arrive there."
You can read the original Facebook post here.