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Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert and Rayya Elias celebrate their love

The private ceremony comes as Elias battles pancreatic and liver cancer

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Elizabeth Gilbert and girlfriend Rayya Elias shared a “precious and perfect” day together on Tuesday.

The 47-year-old author of the best-selling novel Eat, Pray, Love took to Instagram to announce that she and Elias held “a simple and spontaneous ceremony of love, surrounded by a small handful of friends and family.”

“Over the last year, Rayya Elias and I have been through some really difficult days together — but not today,” Gilbert wrote.

Dear Ones: Over the last year, Rayya Elias and I have been through some really difficult days together — but not today. Today was precious and perfect. A simple and spontaneous ceremony of love, surrounded by a small handful of friends and family. Our ceremony was nothing legally binding (no need to alert the authorities, folks!)…just a quiet and private celebration of what we have long known to be true: We belong to each other. More difficult days are to come. It doesn't get easier from here. Her illness is grave. But our love is strong. We will walk together as far as we can go together. After that, it all gets turned over to God. Create beauty with every day you are given, Onward, LG (And thank you, @bindleandkeep, for putting a rush on @rayyaelias's suit, and for hand-delivering it yesterday. She looked beautiful. Thank you for the grace, the care, and the compassion. You are good people.)

A post shared by Elizabeth Gilbert (@elizabeth_gilbert_writer) on

“Today was precious and perfect,” Gilbert continued. “Our ceremony was nothing legally binding (no need to alert the authorities, folks!)…just a quiet and private celebration of what we have long known to be true: We belong to each other.”

Gilbert adds that more trying times will come for the pair. Elias, who is an author and has been friends with Gilbert for more than 15 years, is also battling pancreatic and liver cancer.

“It doesn’t get easier from here,” Gilbert wrote. “Her illness is grave. But our love is strong. We will walk together as far as we can go together. After that, it all gets turned over to God.”

 

Just over two months after announcing her separation from husband José Nunes, Gilbert announced she’d found love again – with a woman.

In a revealing and emotional Facebook post, the author revealed that she was dating fellow author Elias. She also admitted that the romance was the reason her 9-year marriage to Nunes – the inspiration behind Eat, Pray, Love – ended.

“Rayya and I are together,” Gilbert wrote. “I love her, and she loves me.”

“Something happened to my heart and mind in the days and weeks following Rayya’s diagnosis,” Glibert wrote. “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.”

This article originally appeared on People.com