Now, after having a weekend to digest what it all means, Ellen Pompeo
(who plays Dr. Meredith Grey) is speaking out about the loss of her on-screen husband
, Derek Shepherd.
"I have always said what keeps me going is the fans. Knowing we move you and inspire you. There are so many people out there who have suffered tremendous loss and tragedy," she wrote in a tweet
"Husbands and wives of soldiers, victims of senseless violence and parents who have lost children," she continued. "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. I hope you will all join me on her journey."
The death of McDreamy ended Patrick Dempsey's 11 season run -- nearly 250 episodes! -- on the Shonda Rhimes medical drama and the actor gave fans this little farewell.
"I want to thank all the fans, what an incredible 11 yrs, I love you all," Dempsey tweeted out Friday
after the episode aired.
The 49-year-old actor offered a bit more of an explanation to Entertainment Weekly
about the decision behind Derek's death, though still not much. "It just sort of evolved," he said. "It just kind of happened. [Being written off] was something that was kind of surprising and uh, just naturally came to be. I like the way it has all played out."
Dempsey was on hiatus for six episodes of the season -- during which he spent a majority of his time traveling and racing -- and reveals that there wasn't much discussion when it came to his character's death. He found out it was happening earlier this year in February or March and filmed his final scenes to little fanfare.
"It was very quiet, very quiet. I very quietly left," he said. "It was beautiful. It was raining, which was really touching. I got in my Panamera, got in rush hour traffic, and two hours later I was home. I'm emotional now talking about it because you start to look at the reality of it."
Thinking about his co-star Pompeo and their chemistry also caused our McDreamy to get emotional.
"It's magic. It's beautiful," he said after hesitating and tearing up. "We're like a married couple. It's been 10 years, and it was magic from the beginning. [Great] chemistry right away."
"Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character – for Meredith, for me and for the fans. I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our 'McDreamy.' Patrick Dempsey’s performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example – happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true – of what young women should demand from modern love. His loss will be felt by all."
The rest of the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital gang will grapple with Derek's in a special two-hour episode this Thursday on ABC at 8 p.m. For now, relive Mer-Der's best, most romantic moments!