Through its amounting seasons, Grey's Anatomy is certainly among the few major shows that aren't afraid to kill off characters.
Perhaps a bit too unrealistic with the actual number of tallied deaths, but it keeps viewers on edge wondering whose fateful ending is coming next.
Although emotionally charged, each death brought along many life lessons to the doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial. It allowed for the growth of many, and for the show to progress in a beautiful way.
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Undoubtedly one of the hardest on Grey's Anatomy, George O'Malley's passing in the last episode of Season 5 allowed for the interns and the doctors to experience their first impactful death of the show. The moment the audience realized nobody on the show was safe from getting killed off.
Meredith's complicated relationship with her mother was never resolved, but the easy and quick solution was Ellis' death in Season 3 Episode 17. Her death led to Meredith's freedom from any residual and lingering feelings of guilt or anger.
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April and Jackson's son's death was short-lived for viewers, but, stayed forever with Jackson and April. His death on Season 11 Episode 9 seemed to bring up a lot of questions within April's faith, while also weakening the overall relationship of Japril. However, it taught them both many lessons as parents and as humans.
Richard Webber's relationship with his wife was surface-level sweet, but his complicated relationship with Ellis Grey created a murky under-depth. Richard's bereavement process was perhaps not the healthiest, but it brought him peace once he found happiness between the sadness.
Lexie Grey added another death to the total of Meredith's family members who died tragically. Lexie's death on Season 8 Episode 24 was definitely one of the most tragic, and among the most hard-hitting on the show. It sadly added another layer to Meredith's thick emotional skin, but it allowed for the growth of the hospital.
Mark's death in Season 9 Episode 2 perfectly aligned with Lexie's, and only added to the grief of the hospital at the time. A hard one for Callie, but perhaps subtracted a confounding factor to the complications of Callie and Arizona's relationship.
Heather Brooks, or "Mousy," one of the most quirky, yet lovable interns, died a hasty death when she was found electrocuted in the basement of the hospital in Season 10 Episode 2. Her death brought a highly important lesson to Shane, who was quickly going down the similar path of Christina. He learned that being a shark has its inevitable downfall.
Denny Duquette's death in Season Episode 2 Episode 27 was a challenging one for the interns, specifically Izzy. His death led to many issues within the ethics and morals of Izzy as a surgeon, but one that made her grow into a stronger person.
Harold O'Malley's death in Season 3 Episode 12 was the first of the O'Malley deaths in the hospital, offering a foreshadowing of George's fateful ending. It taught the doctors a lot about how quickly and unexpectedly life can end.
Dr. Thomas, Christina's friend doctor in Minnesota taught her a lot about loyalty and friendship, and how to slow down as a surgeon. He helped her realize that life is more than just cutting. His death in Season 9 Episode 5 really brought a pause to Christina's old ways, while also humanizing her.
Henry Burton's death in Season 8 Episode 10 came as an unbelievable shock to Teddy. He was her first love beyond Owen and provided her a safe haven from her own complicated feelings. When Christina realized she had let him die on the operating table, it grounded her abilities. It showed her that she could make mistakes as well, and wasn't entirely perfect and invincible.
Charles Percy was one of the interns from Mercy West who was an initial jerk looking to make an impression on one of his fellow interns but during his last hours on the show in Season 6 Episode 24, he let his guard down and bonded with Bailey. Albeit Bailey and he were never close, his death was a hard one for Bailey to witness, as she was unable to do anything for him.
Derek Shepherd's death in Season 11 Episode 21 was Meredith's hardest tragedy. There's something completely different about losing a significant other versus a family member. It showed her her own strength and power beyond Derek. Remember Christina's wise words: "He's very dreamy, but he's not the sun. You are."