Grey’s Anatomy is known for many things: Steamy romances, dreamy doctors, and fascinating medical cases set to an awesome soundtrack. Another vital aspect of the long-running drama is its undeniably quotable dialogue. Most fans have several favorite lines to choose from. Some of these quotes were said by Meredith to another person, but the majority of them come from the show’s trademark voiceovers, which always make it feel like her words could apply to anyone.
Grey’s has featured a revolving cast of characters over the course of its 15 seasons (and counting) run. One of the longest-lasting constants was the woman at the show’s center: Meredith Grey. Viewers can relate so much to Meredith, in large part because she’s not perfect. Mer is a flawed human being just like the rest of us – though she has excellent writers to give voice to her inner turmoil.
10 They say death is hardest on the living…
They say death is hardest on the living. It’s tough to actually say goodbye. Sometimes it’s impossible. You never really stop feeling the loss. It’s what makes things so bittersweet. We leave little bits of ourselves behind, little reminders. A lifetime of memories, photos, trinkets. Things to remember us by even when we’re gone.
If you live long enough, you will eventually have to suffer the loss of someone you love. Anyone who’s been through this knows that death is, indeed, hardest on the living. While we find ways to survive the unbearable pain, there are pieces of that loved one that will never truly die, because we carry them with us for the rest of our lives. Grief isn’t something that people get over, so much as something that they eventually learn to live with.
The writers of Grey’s Anatomy have always excelled when it comes to twisting the knife, killing off beloved characters such as Mark Sloan, Lexie Grey, George O’Malley and, of course, Derek Shepherd. This Season 9, Episode 1 quote perfectly embodies theses feelings of loss, as well as the bittersweet memories that accompany them.
9 Your choice, it’s simple, her or me…
Okay, here it is. Your choice, it’s simple, her or me. And I’m sure she’s 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.
Rarely has a declaration of love been made so plainly as this quote from Season 2, Episode 5. Season 1 ended with the mammoth twist that Derek was married and the next year saw him trapped between his duty to work things out with his wife and his undeniable love for Meredith.
Anyone who’s ever been in love the way that Meredith describes here can relate to her sentiments and everyone who’s had their heart broken knows just how crushed she was when Derek choose Addison. Mer made herself extremely vulnerable, but she never badmouthed Addison and even incorporated a Say Anything reference.
8 We have to learn our own lessons…
We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today’s possibility under tomorrow’s rug until we can’t anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin meant. That knowing is better than wondering. That waking is better than sleeping. And that even the biggest failure, even the worst, most intractable mistake beats the hell out of never trying.
This Season 1, Episode 6 line refers to Benjamin Franklin’s oft-quoted statement, “Never leave that ’til tomorrow, which you can do today.” We’re all guilty of procrastinating, of putting things off as long as we possibly can. This quote really sums up what’s at the heart of Grey’s Anatomy in general.
The characters at the center of the series make so many mistakes, but there’s no denying how hard they try to save lives, to find love, and just to survive. Meredith’s right, of course. No matter how epically we may fail, it’s still better than not trying at all.
7 Time waits for no man…
Time waits for no man. Time heals all wounds. All any of us want, is more time. Time to stand up. Time to grow up. Time to let go. Time.
This line from Season 3’s premiere episode is something that everyone can relate to. Ultimately, all any of want is more time. Whether it’s more time in the day, more time to spend with our loved ones or more time to become the person we want to be, all of us struggle with the finite number of minutes which we are given.
The end of Season 2 saw fan-favorite Denny Duquette run out of time completely, the ramifications of which were still being felt as the 3rd season began. This episode is even appropriately titled, “Time Has Come Today.”
6 Adapt or die…
Adapt or die. As many times as we’ve heard it, the lesson doesn’t get easier. Problem is, we’re human. We want more than just to survive. We want success. We want to be the best we can be so we fight like hell to get those things. Anything else feels like death.
It is true that change is the only real constant in life. Some of us are great at rolling with the majority of what is thrown at us, while others struggle with the slightest changeup to a well-known routine. Once again, the writers point out that we’re only human, which means we can’t help but strive for more than mere survival.
This line comes from Season 7, Episode 21 and perfectly illustrates more than just what challenges the characters face. The quote could also be talking about Grey’s itself. This series has endured far longer than most and has constantly managed to adapt to change, with its ever-evolving cast, as well as the world itself, which is quite different than it was when Grey’s Anatomy was initially conceived.
5 You can seek the advice of others…
You can seek the advice of others, surround yourself with trusted advisers, but in the end, the decision is always yours and yours alone. And when it’s time to act and you’re all alone with your back against the wall, the only voice that matters is the one in your head. The one telling you what you probably already knew. The one that’s almost always right.
This quote from Season 8, Episode 16 makes the point that no matter how many people we consult, our choices are ultimately our own. No one else can truly take responsibility for the decisions that we make. We all have that voice in our heads constantly telling us what to do. Sometimes we listen, but other times, we ignore it completely.
Every character on Grey’s has made poor decisions, but viewers keep rooting for them because we’ve all made similar mistakes. Maybe the voice in our heads does know what’s best for us, but sometimes it’s difficult to hear it over all that outside noise.
4 When we go without certain things long enough, it’s easy to forget just how much we need them…
When we go without certain things long enough, it’s easy to forget just how much we need them. We forget what we had once. We forget what it’s like to live with a thing, not that we need, but that we want. That’s why it’s so important for us to remind ourselves, for us to remember, just because we can live without something, it doesn’t mean we have to.
Season 11 was a rough time for Meredith and Derek, with fans being unsure if their relationship could even survive. This quote from Episode 17 highlights the idea that just because we are capable of living without something, doesn’t mean that we have to.
It’s true that if you spend enough time without something or someone that you love, it becomes easy to deny how much it means to you. During their struggles, Mer did learn that she could live without her husband. She also decided that she didn’t want to. Sadly, Derek’s life ended not long after she came to this realization.
3 What’s worse?
What’s worse? New wounds, which are so horribly painful, or old wounds that should have healed years ago and never did? Maybe our old wounds teach us something. They remind us where we’ve been and what we’ve overcome. They teach us lessons about what to avoid in the future. That’s what we like to think, but that’s not the way it is, is it? Some things we just have to learn over and over and over again.
This quote comes from Season 3’s 18th episode, with Meredith wondering which wounds are worse, the old or the new. She also makes the point that while we all may think that we’ve learned from past choices, that’s not always the case, because we are often doomed to repeat them anyway.
Over the course of 15 seasons, fans have indeed seen the doctors of Seattle Grace (now Grey Sloan Memorial) learning the same lessons on several occasions, despite the deep wounds caused the first time around. However, some of the show’s most enduring romances would never have survived if these characters had chosen differently. So, in certain cases, viewers are grateful that their favorite players are sometimes a bit hardheaded.
2 I think you can’t wait for someone to fly underneath you and save your life. I think you have to save yourself.
We all want to be rescued sometimes, but if Grey’s Anatomy has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes you need to be your own hero. The series is full of amazingly strong characters who have all evolved quite a bit over the years. It helps that they’ve got each other to rely on, but this line from Season 2, Episode 8 really leans into the idea of depending on yourself.
Sometimes when all seems lost, many of us just wait for the solution to magically appear. Unfortunately, that means that most of us know how it feels to be disappointed by the sad fact that if we want something to change, we’ve got to change it for ourselves.
1 You don’t get to call me a whore…
You don’t get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done. So all the boys, and all the bars, and all the obvious daddy issues, who cared? Because I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I’m all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don’t get to call me a whore.
Meredith said this to Derek in Season 2’s 24th episode and it was a truly inspired moment. Derek had chosen Addison over her but then had the audacity to judge her quite harshly for the way that she had attempted to move on. He never had the right to call her a whore and how she chose to repair the damage done was none of his business.
It would’ve been easy for Mer to crumble at this moment, but she did not. Instead, she told Derek exactly how she felt and made it clear that his bitter comments were unacceptable. Really, Derek was just jealous, but nothing about the way he spoke to Meredith was okay and it’s awesome that she let him know that with such certainty.
NEXT: Grey’s Anatomy: 10 Things That Need To Happen Before It Ends