6. Love in friendships is endless
This one hurts a bit if you imagine Mark and Derek hanging out on the porch of that big trailer out in the open fields of the sky. Even after Mark slept with his wife, drove Derek out of town, reappeared in his life, and again slept with his wife, Derek and Mark remained close friends. They fought, they reconciled, they grieved, they supported each other through it all.
7. Fight for those you love
Derek fought for Meredith from the moment he woke up on her floor in the series premiere of Grey’s Anatomy. Most of the time he was fighting only Meredith for her love, but sometimes, he found himself defending her honor, intelligence and worth to those who could not see it. Even in death, Derek referenced Meredith’s surgical skills in his head, arguing her intelligence over the doctors operating on him.
8. Go big or go home
Map out your future home in candles? Check. Propose in an elevator where some of your most romantic moments happened and fill the walls with surgeries you worked on together? Check. Get married on a post-it because you know that’s how it should be? Check. Derek set the bar high for any romantic gesture, but he also knew when to tone it down and keep it simple to ground you in the moment for as long as possible.
9. We are all entitled to have our things
Ferry boats appeal to Derek almost as much as fixing brains do. From his scrub caps to his commute, Derek’s love for ferry boats was with him even in his final day as he rode one his last morning in Seattle. Even after the crash of the commuter ferry, Derek’s love did not waiver.
10. The story isn’t about the happy ending, but the pages in between
Their story was never easy. It was messy, it was emotionally scarring, and it ended. Meredith Grey was the girl at the bar. Derek was the guy across the bar. In the end, she was the wife and mother leaving home to save lives and he was the husband who always found his way back until he couldn’t fight for himself anymore. It is a love story that will stand in television history as one of the greats, but it is over.
Goodbye, McDreamy. We’ll miss that smile most of all.
Say goodbye to Derek in Grey’s Anatomy season 11, episode 22, “She’s Leaving Home,” Thursday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.