Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of mega-popular book-turned-movie Eat, Pray, Love, just announced that the love she’s always felt toward her best friend isn’t just friend-love. It’s real, true love. Rayya Elias, a fellow author and Gilbert’s best friend, is ill, and since her friend became sick, Gilbert has been thinking about things a little differently. She shared her recognition of these feelings in a really moving, but also really, really sad post on her Facebook page, and we’re listening.
The pair has always been *beyond* close.
“Many of you already know who Rayya Elias is to me. She’s my best friend, yes, but it’s always been bigger than that,” Gilbert explains. “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. Anyone who has ever seen us together knows that I am devoted to Rayya. I’ve never made a secret of it.”
To this, most of us can relate. Many talk about female friendship as a thing of ultimate devotion, something that withstands romantic relationships and marriage. But, sometimes, it’s more than that.
But facing death in such a real way changed the way Gilbert thought about her love for her best friend.
“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,” Gilbert shared.
This is a coming out, yes, as Gilbert discusses that her love for Rayya is what led to their separation, but it’s more than that. It’s a thing of love, really, honestly, and truly. And it’s so beautiful.
Elizabeth Gilbert is going to stay by Rayya’s side, in love, and all things, through Rayya’s journey with cancer.
“So. Here is where we stand now: 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.”
We’re sending all of our love your way, Elizabeth Gilbert and Rayya. And we thank you for your honesty. This is such an important and necessary message, and we’re here to listen.