(USA Today) - Two years after taking her same-sex relationship public, Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert is mourning the death of her partner, Rayya Elias.
"I would tell you to rest in peace, but I know that you always found peace boring," she wrote overnight Thursday on Instagram. "May you rest in excitement. I will always love you."
Elias, 57, a fellow author, songwriter and short filmmaker, was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer in 2016, prompting Gilbert, now 48, to realize the depth of her feelings for her best friend of 15 years. That summer, she divorced her husband of 12 years, Jose Nunes (portrayed by Javier Bardem in the 2010 film adaptation of Eat Pray Love) to be with Elias.
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.
"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," Gilbert wrote in a 2016 Facebook post. "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."
She continued, "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 ... I'm walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend but as her partner."
Two years later, in her Instagram eulogy, Gilbert told Elias, "Thank you for letting me walk with you right to the edge of the river. It has been the greatest honor of my life."
The post came only a few days after a New Year's post in which Gilbert celebrated Elias living to see 2018, writing, "You made it. We made it. Blessed be."
Representatives for Gilbert did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment.
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