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Shonda Rhimes Discusses The Two Shocking Grey's Anatomy Exits

Last night’s season finale of Grey’s Anatomy was a doozy of an episode that left us without two of our favorite characters and feeling as if we had been punched in the stomach. If you have not caught the episode, yet, please do not continue reading, as this article is chock full of SPOILERS. For a show that I thought had pulled out every last trick in its bag, last night’s finale was heartfelt and intensely dramatic. For creator and showrunner Shonda Rhimes, it was also extremely difficult to write.

The end of Season 8 saw Meredith Grey’s (Ellen Pompeo) sister, Lexi (Chyler Leigh) perish in a plane crash and also saw more recent addition Dr. Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) move on to greener hospital pastures. The latter was easier to take than the former, which resulted in an emotional farewell between Lexi and her ex-boyfriend Mark (Eric Dane) and also saw Meredith completely lose it. Before the episode, Shonda Rhimes called the whole thing “unsettling,” and I cannot think of a better word for what I encountered.

Early Friday, Rhimes took to Twitter to discuss the writing of the finale and to also thank audiences for sticking around to watch a show that is clearly dear to the showrunner’s heart.

”Okay. Callie said it best tonight: Life changes in an instant. Turns on a dime.This finale was incredibly hard to write. I did not enjoy it. It made me sick and it made me sad. We end the season not knowing ANYTHING about the future. Except for two things. We know we are definitely saying goodbye to two of my favorite people: Chyler Leigh and Kim Raver.I know this season’s finale had some surprises for viewers and the exit of Kim Raver was one of the big ones. But Kim’s series option was up and she was ready to give Teddy Altman a much-needed vacation. It’s been a pleasure working with someone as talented and funny and kind as Kim; everyone is going to miss her terribly. I like to imagine that Teddy is still out there in the Grey’s Anatomy universe, running Army Medical Command and building a new life.I love Chyler and I love the character of Lexie Grey. She was an important member of my Grey's family. This was not an easy decision. But it was a decision that Chyler and I came to together. We had a lot of thoughtful discussion about it and ultimately we both decided this was the right time for her character's journey to end. As far as I'm concerned Chyler will always remain a part of the Shondaland family and I can't wait to work with her again in the future.I'd write more but I'm honestly too sad. I don't like life changing in an instant and turning on a dime.Thanks for watching Season Eight. We are, as always, grateful that you joined us for the ride.”

If last night had been the last episode of the medical drama ever, I would have taken it, but luckily, Grey’s Anatomy was recently renewed for a ninth season by ABC. The show might be eking ever closer to an ending, but I was wrong about the bag of tricks I spoke of before; the show certainly does have more to bring to the table.