This post contains spoilers from Thursday's episode of Grey's Anatomy.
After months of uncertainty, Meredith Grey is finally truly awake ... thanks to a familiar face from her past — and another from her present.
During Thursday's episode of the ABC medical drama, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) experienced her final moments on the beach with her late husband Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) while the doctors of Grey Sloan worked together to lift her from her COVID-19 haze once and for all. But as Meredith continued her battle, her medical team discovered a blood clot in her liver — which resulted in her inability to stay awake for longer than two minutes.
During a dream sequence in which she reunited with Derek on a beach, Meredith confessed her hesitancy to return home (or wake up). "Were you in pain?" she asked, referring to the night Derek died as a result of a tragic car accident.
"The worst part was knowing they were getting it wrong," said Derek, referencing the doctors who attempted to save his life. "I didn't want to leave you."
"I came to the hospital," Meredith said.
"I know," he confirmed.
"You could hear?" she asked.
"Not through my ears," said Derek. "Dying is exhausting. You know that point as a surgeon, you've done everything for your patient, you try and will them to fight, will them to live but I never understood the level of exhaustion. There comes a point where the desire to rest overrides the desire to live. You got there. you gave me permission to go. You told me it was okay. You got there. You gave me everything I needed until my last breath."
"People love you Meredith," he later added. "They need you."
"I'm tired," she said.
"Your body is tired," said Derek. "Your soul won't even let me be with you. You're still fighting."
While Meredith was experiencing these bittersweet moments, the doctors performed emergency surgery to remove the clot. However, while the surgery was successful, Meredith still wouldn't wake up.
Instead, she experienced another flashback on the beach — but this time, wearing a white dress and holding a bouquet of flowers as Derek looked dapper in an ivory-colored suit.
"You hate weddings," Derek said.
"I hate weddings, but I would give this to her if I could," said Meredith, referring to their daughter's drawing of the couple getting married on a beach. "What do you want me to promise?"
"To torture yourself less," Derek responded.
"I don't want to leave the kids," Meredith said, leaning into Derek.
"I don't want you to leave the kids," Derek whispered back.
In a desperate attempt to do something to save Meredith, Dr. Winston Ndugu (Anthony Hill), one of Meredith's doctors and Maggie Pierce's new fiancé, had the idea of bringing in Meredith's eldest daughter Zola into her hospital room, hoping it would elevate Meredith's spirits and give her a final push to finally open her eyes.
As an emotional but strong Zola sat on her mom's hospital bed chatting away, viewers saw the final moments Meredith shared with her late husband.
"It's not time yet," said Derek.
"There's no pain here" Meredith said, with Derek hugging her from behind.
"You want to know a secret?" he asked. "I miss the pain. You have to go."
"I'm so tired," said Meredith.
"It's not your time yet," he said. "Our kids need you. You have to go."
At that point, Meredith finally woke with Zola by her side and said, "We love you, Zo Zo."
As Meredith and Zola hugged and the doctors watched in disbelief, fans watched as Derek walked away on the beach with a comforting grin.
While viewers celebrated in Meredith's awakening, the moment between her and Derek on the beach in their wedding attire really had fans talking.
"GIVE ME A DAMN SECOND," one fan wrote on Twitter with a side-by-side photo of the moment on the beach and Ellis' drawing of the wedding she wishes her parents had. (She's not impressed by the Post-It note.)
Another user wrote, "DEREK REALLY MAKES HIS WORDS COME TRUE," alongside a photo of Derek from a previous season fantasizing about a beach wedding.
If you thought the reunions were over now that Meredith has left the beach, think again. The promo teased Jackson Avery (Jessie Williams) seeing his ex, April Kepner (Sarah Drew), again on the next episode in two weeks.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.
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