How "Grey's Anatomy" said goodbye to Derek Shepherd

ABC

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for Thursday's episode of "Grey's Anatomy."]

After shocking fans last week with the sudden and tragic death of Derek Shepherd, "Grey's Anatomy" returned with a two-hour episode that chronicled how Meredith Grey and the other doctors mourned "Dr. McDreamy" and began to move forward without him.

"She's Leaving Home" spanned months -- from Derek's death through Valentine's Day -- beginning when Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) had to break the terrible news to her friends and colleagues.

Then, following in her mother Ellis Grey's footsteps, she takes off with the kids and doesn't tell anyone where she's going.

When the seasons turn to Christmas, series creator Shonda Rhimes drops one more bombshell on us (no, not another death -- I don't think our hearts could handle it) -- Meredith, we learn, is pregnant with Derek's baby. When she goes into labor and begins bleeding, daughter Zola saves the day and calls 911 (just as a young Meredith had to do when her mother attempted suicide).

She gives birth to a baby girl, named Ellis, and confides in Alex (her "person" and emergency contact) that she thought she would die in childbirth.

"I didn't think I could do it," she told him. "Part of me thought, 'What if I have this baby and just die?' And then she arrived, and I saw her face, and I saw him in her. She's beautiful."

After Ellis' birth, Mer returns to Seattle and Grey Sloan Memorial, where she (cue the tears) goes back to work wearing Derek's lucky scrub cap.

Throughout Meredith's journey through grief, the episode cut to flashbacks from their romance and scenes of Meredith's late mother, both sharing wisdom about how to move forward after loss.

"I have to believe there's a way, a way to step off the carousel, to start again, to start fresh," Ellis said. "There has to be a way to leave all my ghosts behind. It's a choice. It's a choice I'm making -- to move forward, to move past this. I can do that."

As Meredith puts it as she heads into surgery for the first time post-Derek, "All I have to do is begin."