We knew Patrick Dempsey might be leaving Grey’s Anatomy for quite some time before his exit on the ABC drama actually occurred. Despite the rumor-ridden information about the actor leaving, it was still tough to watch it actually play out, and his exit will have ramifications on the drama for the rest of the season, as well as in the years to come (should Grey’s get renewed, of course). Grey’s Anatomy has always centrally been grounded in Meredith and Derek’s relationship, which will have to change now that Dr. Derek Shepherd is no longer a part of the show. This morning Ellen Pompeo, who plays Meredith Grey, spoke out to explain how she feels about her show moving on from McDreamy.
There are so many people out there who have suffered tremendous loss and tragedy. Husbands and wives of soldiers, victims of senseless violence and parents who have lost children. People who get up each day and do what feels like is the impossible. So it is for these people and in the spirit of resilience I am honored and excited to tell the story of how Meredith goes on in the face of what feels like the impossible.

The message was delivered to Ellen Pompeo’s slew of Twitter followers on Monday morning. It’s a thoughtful, poignant way to express what her character on the series is going through in a way that connects to the millions of people who have suffered real loss thanks to dangerous situations like the one Derek found himself in last week. But what I like about it most is that Pompeo keeps her eye on the prize and is clear to give the credit to the real people who have dealt with tough situations rather than the pain her character is feeling in the aftermath of that big TV death. It’s a pretty classy way to talk about how Grey's will move on in the future.

There are some spoilers in this article if you still haven’t caught last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy. If you’ve made it this far without knowing what’s up, kudos to you, and we certainly don’t want to be the ones to spoil you, so skedaddle now!

During Thursday’s big episode, Dr. Derek Shepherd was driving down a winding road when he encountered an accident between a sports car and an SUV. He immediately reacted by running to the scene and helping to get the accident victims to safety, even when one of the vehicles caught fire. An ambulance came to pick the victims up, and for a brief second, it seemed as if all of the rumors about Dempsey’s exit were actually wrong. For a moment, it seemed as if the teaser from the week prior had just been a big fakeout, but then a truck came out of nowhere and slammed into Derek’s vehicle as he attempted to leave the scene of the accident. He was taken to a hospital, but mistakes were made and he died.

Dr. Derek Shepherd’s final episode was a good one for ABC, even if fans may not have been happy that Patrick Dempsey exited. The show hit a 7-month high in the ratings, bringing in more than 9.4 million total viewers and a 2.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic. Those numbers may dwindle some now that McDreamy is no longer a part of the series, but Pompeo is still encouraging fans to tune in.
I hope you will all join me on her journey.

If you’d like to hear how Dempsey feels about his big exit, head here.

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