I was 11-years-old, sitting in my grandmother’s basement when I first discovered the world of Shonda Rhimes and Grey’s Anatomy. My older cousin told me I had to watch the show with her, and so I fell into it: the drama, the characters, the score. I didn’t understand much at the time. But the feels – oh all the feels – they were there and tingling through me.

Grey’s Anatomy reminds me of warm cozy nights, grape sweet tarts and the overwhelming feeling of fiction taking over my senses. I’ve seen the first five seasons so many times that I’ve learnt the lines by heart. Chasing Cars and How to Save a Life still remind me of death within the show and I can’t listen to them without feeling the weight of it. I can’t look at cheetah pumps without seeing the theme song.

But by far, my favorite plot line was the Mer-Der (Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey) relationship. There was something about Derek – head of neurosurgery, his love for ferries, his ferry boat scrub cap, that curly head of hair and smile that just got you, you know? 

The never-forgotten line, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives,” still rings in my head as we settle down to watch the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode.

The season 17 episode 3 promo starts off with the words, “No, you’re not mcdreaming, this is happening.”

And there’s Derek in all his beautiful glory standing on a beautiful sandy beach, eyes twinkling, looking at Meredith. And although we know it’s a dream and it isn’t real, it was the reunion all of us fans have been DYING for. 

In 2015, Derek died in one of the worst Grey’s Anatomy deaths of all time. And yes, we’ve had a lot. George, McSteamy, Lexie, DENNY (omg will I ever get over it?), Adele, Ellis and the list goes on and on. And all these years, we haven’t gotten over his death. Because it was unjust. It was unfair. He deserved better. Truth be told, the worst part of Derek’s death was that he could have been saved.

He never really left the show, at least for me. I remember that voice message he had left Meredith before his passing. He spoke of the blue water across the ferry, the beauty of that feeling of being caught within land and sea. And it’s an epic moment of Derek doing what he does best and we ate it up.

So while we still have a few days to dream up our greatest dreams of the Mer-Der fantasy, let’s recap some of their best moments over the show:

1. Pick me, choose me, love me (Season 2, Episode 5)

Every single fan of the show can probably quote this entire scene by heart. It hit us with so many emotions. And what crushed me the most was that Derek chose Addison in that moment. 

“Okay, here it is, your choice… it’s simple, her or me, and I’m sure she is really great. But Derek, I love you, in a really, really big pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over my head outside your window, unfortunate way that makes me hate you, love you. So pick me, choose me, love me.”

2. Post-it note wedding (Season 5, Episode 24 )

After giving up their wedding for Alex and Izzie, Mer-Der needed a big swoon moment. So their tiny vows over a small post-card just made sense. And it was so adorable the way they framed it and kept it over their headboard for safekeeping. 

“Love each other even when we hate each other.”

3. When Derek jumps into the water to save Meredith’s life (Season 3, Episode 16)

Meredith was going through a rough patch at this time and when she fell into the water at the site of the Ferry crash, she didn’t try to get out. She just lay there, falling deeper and deeper. And so, Derek pulling her out of the deep end, both physically and metaphorically made all of us fans think: goals. Where’s your heart if you didn’t cry during this episode?

4. The elevator proposal (Season 5, Episode 19)

This is personally one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE moments on the show. The two characters always had a thing with elevators and when Derek recaps all their moments together scrubbing in on surgeries and memories are flowing and tears are flowing and ALL THE FEELS!!!! So many gah.

“You say you’re all dark and twisty, it’s not a flaw, it’s a strength.”

5. The candle house (Season 4, Episode 16)

We all love a happy ending. During those few episodes where Derek was dating Nurse Rose (ew), we were all simply waiting for the moment our two faves would get back together. And Meredith proceeds with the grand gesture of all gestures by setting up a blueprint of their house to be completely out of candles. Romantic, sweet and on a whole, the perfect way for them to get back together.

“I got all whole and healed, and you don’t show up.”

6. When Derek got Meredith a Colon (Season 5, Episode 22)

Derek was known for his romantic gestures. And on the day of their would-be wedding, Derek presents Meredith with her solo surgery – a colon to operate on. In the Grey’s universe, this was probably as romantic as it could get. 

“Just a normal day that’s ends in a ceremony and a church.”

7. When Derek dances it out with Meredith (Season 5, Episode 11)

We all know how much Mer and Christina loved to dance it out, and in this episode, when they’re on the outs, Derek steps in. It’s light, cute and sweet and who doesn’t love a good Patrick Dempsey dancing scene?

8. When Meredith kicks Derek out of her house (Season 1, Episode 1)

How can we ever forget the iconic beginning of the show when Mer-Der started off as a one night stand and how Meredith told him to get out of her house while she’s in the shower. AND, how she had forgotten his name. That smile in the beginning, ah.

Ultimately, there’s no show that gives me the feels like Grey’s Anatomy does. It’s the fuzzy warm blanket on a winter’s night, it’s the cup of coffee when you come home from a long day. It’s TV that pulls you so deep into its verse that you latch onto it closely- waiting for it to guide you week by week.

As we prepare for the reunion between our two beloved characters, years later, hopes are high. But the reality of the matter is that Meredith is hallucinating, and that none of it is real.

But for me, seeing Patrick Dempsey on screen again, after all these years – that’s a McDream I can get behind.

Your choice is simple: to dream and believe, or to sit and critique.

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  • Maheen Humayun

    Maheen Humayun is a writer, poet and educator based in Karachi, Pakistan. She has a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing. In addition to working as the Senior Editor for Love, she teaches literature in the day, and writes her own at night. Maheen has written for The Express Tribune and Dawn as well and her novella, "Special," was published in 2012. When she isn't writing for The Tempest, you can find her drinking copious amounts of black coffee, working on crushing the patriarchy, learning digital art, and doing spoken word poetry.