Last Night’s Episode: Grey’s Anatomy “How To Save A Life”

I almost always tear up during an episode of
Grey’s Anatomy

Last night I cried, and sobbed, and wailed. I got out of bed and hunched over my desk and wept. I dried my eyes with tissue and sat up, and crumpled over again. Real, live, liquid fan-girl tears. I mean I know it’s just a T.V. show, and it’s not real life, and how is it even still on the air…

But Grey’s Anatomy is way more than just a T.V. show.

It’s a playbook, this visual journal you can grab pages and notes from. Medical dramas are special that way. They can be cornerstones of a Prime-time line up, the show pony of a network’s upfronts, or the golden child of an awards season. But they don’t get there without actually gutting viewers right in the feels. Medical dramas are the best at this because the premise is always life and death.


Derek Shepherd is dead.
What even is anything anymore?

Last night’s episode hurt me like losing a loved one. Because I did. We all did. But there were two beautiful takeaways from the episode. The first came as Derek wrapped the teen girl’s stomach in plastic, when he explained:

“Every kiss before the right kiss doesn’t count anyway. I’ve kissed a lot of women. The first time I kissed my wife… I mean she wasn’t my wife then. She was just this girl in the bar. But when we kissed it was like, I gotta tell you, it was like I never kissed any other woman before. It was like the first kiss. The right kiss.”

One of the things I love most about Grey’s Anatomy is its constant exploration of science and faith in the human. Narrations often begin “Surgeons are…” or “Surgery is…” followed by 40 minutes of emotional telecast. All these devoted, genius doctors working hard, using science to keep people alive and inside they’re just big blobs of messy, whimsical feelings.

Lately, I’ve been trying to apply logic to my feelings. It’s going swimmingly, and I’m being sarcastic. I read that Oxytocin in the brain is sometimes referred to as the bonding hormone and is associated with social recognition, anxiety, and orgasm – which I found interesting because every time I see this one guy I sort of feel like my organs are all failing and I want to die and cry and kiss him at the same time. Also, he very clearly doesn’t want to be with me. And I’m struggling to understand why my body reacts that way to someone who doesn’t like me, who I should probably not like, and why, even though it feels like my blood vessels are all exploding, I enjoy it.

Science and faith. Logic and feelings. It’s all a mess.

The other moment that really hit me close was when Meredith told the crying doctor:

“So learn from this. Better yourself. And you will be better for next time.”

Life is ridiculous. My life is… I don’t even know what’s going on anymore at all. I actually turned down coke a few nights ago, so that’s a move in a new direction. I’m about 50% under what I’d hope to be at in my savings by now, but at least I managed to save more in two months than I ever have in my life. Factual. And while I finally have a great job that I love, I’m not naive or young, or spartan enough to think this amount of income will hold me good for long. Also, haven’t worked on new fiction or a worthwhile essay in months. I’m simply not satisfied with my life. If this is adulthood, if this is how it’s going to be and if this is all there is to really look forward to that sucks and I won’t accept it.

That Meredith had the clarity to comfort (via honest pep-talk) that doctor in the midst of coming to terms with her husband’s death gave me clarity and perspective on my own situation. Because Shonda and Ellen and Grey’s Anatomy and the mess that is Life are all perfect that way.

Also, also gave Derek a really cute obituary that I appreciated.

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