Love quotes from movies


The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that's what you've given me. That's what I'd hoped to give you forever..~The Notebook



I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love. I vow to love you, and no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find a way back to each other. ~ The Vow

When I say, "I love you," it's not because I want you or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman. ~Buffy The Vampire Slayer


But it's you, your scent, it's like a drug to me. You're like my own personal brand of heroin. ~ Edward Cullen ( Twilight )

May you never steal, lie, or cheat, but if you must steal, then steal away my sorrows, and if you must lie, lie with me all the nights of my life, and if you must cheat, then please cheat death because I couldn't live a day without you.  ~Leap year

 The only way you can beat my crazy was by doing something crazy yourself. Thank you. I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I'm sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck. ~ Silver linings playbook

I am in love with you. And I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed. And that one day all our labor will be returned to dust. And I know that the sun will swallow the only earth we will ever have. And I am in love with you. ~The fault in our stars

Don’t forget I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. ~Notting Hill


That thing, that moment, when you kiss someone and everything around becomes hazy and the only thing in focus is you and this person and you realize that that person is the only person that you're supposed to kiss for the rest of your life, and for one moment you get this amazing gift and you want to laugh and you want to cry because you feel so lucky that you found it and so scared that that it will go away all at the same time. ~Never been kissed

Love is about choices. It's about putting down the poison and the dagger and making your own happy ending, most of the time, and that sometimes despite all your best choices and all your best intentions, fate wins anyway. ~Meredith Grey ( Grey's Anatomy )

You didn’t love her. You just didn’t want to be alone. Or maybe, maybe she was good for your ego. Or maybe she made you feel better about your miserable life, but you didn’t love her, because you don’t destroy the person that you love. ~Callie Torres ( Grey's Anatomy )


Grey's Anatomy Quotes


A couple of hundred years ago, Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secret of his success. Never leave that till tomorrow, he said, which you can do today. This is the man who discovered electricity. You think more people would listen to what he had to say. I don't know why we put things off, but if I had to guess, I'd have to say it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, sometimes the fear is just of making a decision, because what if you're wrong? What if you're making a mistake you can't undo? The early bird catches the worm. A stitch in time saves nine. He who hesitates is lost. We can't pretend we hadn't been told. We've all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time, heard the damn poets urging us to seize the day. Still sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. 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 really meant. That knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping, and even the biggest failure, even the worst, beat the hell out of never trying.





Season 1 ~Meredith Grey narrations


I can't think of a single reason why I should be a surgeon, but I can think of a thousand reasons why I should quit. They make it hard on purpose. There are lives in our hands. There comes a moment when it's more than just a game, and you either take that step forward or turn around and walk away. I could quit, but here's the thing. I love the playing field.

It's all about lines. The finish line at the end of residency, waiting in line for a chance at the operating table, and then there’s the most important line, the line separating you from the people you work with. It doesn’t help to get too familiar to make friends. You need boundaries, between you and the rest of the world. Other people are far too messy. It’s all about lines... drawing lines in the sand and praying like hell no one crosses them.

At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don't keep other people out, they fence you in. Life is messy, that's how we're made. So you can waste your life drawing lines or you can live your life crossing them. But there are some lines that are way too dangerous to cross. Here's what I know. If you're willing to throw caution to the wind and take a chance, the view from the other side... is spectacular.

We live our lives on the surgical unit. Seven days a week, 14 hours a day, we're together more than we're apart. After a while, the ways of residency becomes the ways of life. Number one: Always keep score. Number two: Do whatever you can to outsmart the other guy. Number three: Don't make friends with the enemy. Oh, yeah, Number four: Everything, everything is a competition. Whoever said winning wasn't everything... Never held a scalpel.

I wish there were a rulebook for intimacy. Some kind of guide to tell you when you've crossed the line. It would be nice if you could see it coming, and I don't know how you fit it on a map. You take it where you can get it, and keep it as long as you can. As for rules, maybe there are none. Maybe the rules of intimacy are something we have to define for ourselves.

Intimacy is a four syllable word for: Here is my heart and soul, please grind into hamburger, and enjoy. It's both desired, and feared. Difficult to live with, and impossible to live without. Intimacy also comes attached to the three R's... relatives, romance, and roommates. There are some things you can't escape. And other things you just don't want to know.

Remember when you were a kid and your biggest worry was, like, if you'd get a bike for your birthday or if you'd get to eat cookies for breakfast. Being an adult? Totally overrated. I mean seriously, don't be fooled by all the hot shoes and the great sex and the no parents anywhere telling you what to do. Adulthood is responsibility. Responsibility, it really does suck. Really, really sucks. Adults have to be places and do things and earn a living and pay the rent. And if you're training to be a surgeon, holding a human heart in your hands, hello? Talk about responsibility. Kind of makes bikes and cookies look really, really good, doesn't it? The scariest part about responsibility? When you screw up and let it slip right through your fingers.

I guess we're adults. The question is, when did that happen, and how do we make it stop?

Responsibility. It really does suck. Unfortunately, once you get past the age of braces and training bras, responsibility doesn't go away. It can't be avoided. Either someone makes us face it or we suffer the consequences. And still adulthood has it perks. I mean the shoes, the sex, the no parents anywhere telling you what to do. That's, pretty damn good.


You know when you were a little kid and you believed in fairy tales? That fantasy of what your life would be -- white dress, prince charming who’d carry you away to a castle on a hill. You’d lie in your bed at night and close your eyes and you had complete and utter faith. Santa clause, the tooth fairy, prince charming -- they were so close you could taste them. But eventually you grow up and one day you open your eyes and the fairy tale disappears. Most people turn to the things and people they can trust. But the thing is, it’s hard to let go of that fairy tale entirely because almost everyone has that smallest bit of hope and faith that one day they would open their eyes and it would all come true.

But the thing is, it’s hard to let go of that fairy tale entirely, because almost everyone has that smallest bit of faith and hope that one day they would open their eyes and it would all come true. At the end of the day, faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don’t really expect it. It’s like one day you realize that the fairy tale is slightly different than your dream. The castle, well it may not be a castle. And it’s not so important that it’s happily ever after -- just that it’s happy right now. See, once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you. And once in awhile, people may even take your breath away.

Secrets can't hide in science. Medicine has a way of exposing lies. Within the walls of the hospital, the truth is stripped bare. How we keep our secrets outside the hospital -- well, that’s a little different. One thing is certain, whatever it is we're trying to hide; we're never ready for that moment when the truth gets naked. That's the problem with secrets -- like misery, they love company. They pile up and up until they take over everything, until you don't have room for anything else, until you're so full of secrets you feel like you're going to burst.

The thing people forget is how good it can feel when you finally set secrets free. Whether good or bad, at least they're out in the open, like it or not. And once your secrets are out in the open, you don't have to hide behind them anymore. The problem with secrets is even when you think you're in control, you're not.


Season 2 ~Meredith Grey narrations




To be a good surgeon you have to think like a surgeon. Emotions are messy. Tuck them neatly away and step into a clean sterile room where the procedure is simple. Cut, suture, and close. But sometimes you’re faced with a cut that won’t heal. A cut that rips its stitches wide open.

They say that practice makes perfect. Theory is– the more you think like a surgeon, the more you become like one, the better you get at remaining neutral, clinical, cut, suture, close - the harder it becomes to turn it off. To stop thinking like a surgeon, and remember what it means to think like a human being.


I have an aunt who whenever she poured anything for you she would say "Say when!" My aunt would say "Say when!" and of course, we never did. We don't say when because there's something about the possibility, of more. More tequila, more love, more anything. More is better.

There's something to be said about a glass half full. About knowing when to say when. I think it's a floating line. A barometer of need and desire. It's entirely up to the individual. And depends on what's being poured. Sometimes all we want is a taste. Other times there's no such thing as enough, the glass is bottomless. And all we want, is more.

Surgeons are control freaks. With a scalpel in your hand, you feel unstoppable. There's no fear, there's no pain. You're ten-feet tall and bulletproof. And then you leave the OR. And all that perfection, all that beautiful control, just falls to crap.

No one likes to lose control, but as a surgeon there's nothing worse. It's a sign of weakness, of not being up to the task. And still there are times when it just gets away from you. When the world stops spinning and you realize that your shiny little scalpel isn't gonna save you. No matter how hard you fight it, you fall. And it's scary as hell. If there's an upside to free-falling, it's the chance you give your friends to catch you.

The key to surviving a surgical internship is denial. We deny that we're tired, we deny that we're scared, we deny how badly we want to succeed. And most importantly, we deny that we're in denial. We only see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe, and it works. We lie to ourselves so much that after a while the lies start to seem like the truth. We deny so much that we can't recognize the truth right in front of our faces.

Sometimes reality has a way of sneaking up and biting us in the ass. And when the dam bursts, all you can do is swim. The world of pretend is a cage, not a cocoon. We can only lie to ourselves for so long. We are tired, we are scared, denying it doesn't change the truth. Sooner or later we have to put aside our denial and face the world. Head on, guns blazing. De Nile. It's not just a river in Egypt, it's a freakin' ocean. So how do you keep from drowning in it?

Pain, it comes in all forms. The small twinge, a bit of soreness, the random pain, the normal pains that we live with everyday. Then there's the kind of pain you can't ignore. A level of pain so great that it blocks out everything else; makes the rest of your world fade away until all we can think about is how much we hurt. How we manage our pain is up to us. Pain. We anaesthetize, ride it out, embrace it, ignore it... and for some of us, the best way to manage pain is to just push through it.

Pain, you just have to ride it out, hope it goes away on its own, hope the wound that caused it heals. There are no solutions, no easy answers. You just breathe deep and wait for it to subside. Most of the time pain can be managed, but sometimes the pain gets you when you least expect it, hits way below the belt and doesn't let up. Pain, you just have to fight through, because the truth is you can't outrun it, and life always makes more.

In general, people can be categorized in one of two ways — those who love surprises and those who don't. I don't. I've never met a surgeon that enjoys a surprise, because as surgeons, we like to be in the know. We have to be in the know, because when we aren't, people die and lawsuits happen. Am I rambling? I think I'm rambling. Okay, so my point, actually, and I do have one, has nothing to do with surprises or death or lawsuits, or even surgeons. My point is this: whoever said "What you don't know can’t hurt you", was a complete and total moron. Because for most people I know, not knowing is the worst feeling in the world. [Sees two people with a pole cutting through them.] Okay, fine. Maybe it's the second worst.

As surgeons, there are so many things we have to know. We have to know we have what it takes. We have to know how to take care of our patients... and how to take care of each other. Eventually, we even have to figure out how to take care of ourselves. As surgeons we have to be in the know. But as human beings, sometimes it's better to stay in the dark, because in the dark there may be fear, but there's also hope.

Communication. It's the first thing we really learn in life. Funny thing is, once we grow up, learn our words and really start talking the harder it becomes to know what to say. Or how to ask for what we really need.

At the end of the day, there are some things you just can't help but talk about. Some things we just don't want to hear, and some things we say because we can't be silent any longer. Some things are more than what you say, they're what you do. Some things you say because there's no other choice. Some things you keep to yourself. And not too often, but every now and then, some things simply speak for themselves.

In the eighth grade my English class had to read Romeo and Juliet. Then for extra credit, Mrs. Snyder made us act out all the parts. Sal Scafarillo was Romeo. As fate would have it, I was Juliet… all the other girls were jealous, but I had a slightly different take. I told Mrs. Snyder that Juliet was an idiot. For starters she falls for the one guy she knows she can’t have, then she blames fate for her own bad decision. Mrs. Snyder explained to me that when fate comes into play choice sometimes goes out the window, and that I would be lucky if I ever experienced that type of true love. At the ripe old age of 13, I was very clear that love, like life, is about making choices. And fate has nothing to do with it. Everyone thinks it’s so romantic, Romeo and Juliet, true love, how sad. If Juliet was stupid enough to fall for the enemy, drink the bottle of poison, and go to sleep in a mausoleum, she deserved whatever she got.

Maybe Romeo and Juliet were fated to be together, but just for a while, and then their time passed. If they could have known that beforehand, maybe it all would have been okay. I told Mrs. Snyder that when I was grown up, I'd take fate into my own hands. I wouldn't let some guy drag me down. Mrs. Snyder said that I'd be lucky if I ever had that kind of passion with someone, and that if I did, we'd be together forever. Even now, I believe that for the most part, love is about choices. It's about putting down the poison and the dagger and making your own happy ending...most of the time. And that sometimes, despite all your best choices and all your best intentions... fate wins anyway.

Gratitude, appreciation, giving thanks. No matter what words you use, they all mean the same thing. Happy. We're supposed to be happy. Grateful for friends, family. Happy just to be alive. Whether we like it or not.

Maybe we're not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we're thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we're thankful for the things we'll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.

When you were a kid, it was Halloween candy. You hid it from your parents and you ate it until you got sick. In college, it was the heavy combo of youth, tequila and well, you know. As a surgeon, you take as much of the good as you can get because it doesn't come around nearly as often as it should. 'Cause good things aren't always what they seem. Too much of anything, even love, is not always a good thing.

How do you know when how much is too much? Too much too soon. Too much information. Too much fun. Too much love. Too much to ask... And when is it all just too much to bear?

Forty years ago, the Beatles asked the world a simple question: they wanted to know where all the lonely people came from. My latest theory is that a great many of the lonely people come from hospitals. More precisely, the surgical wing of hospitals. As surgeons, we ignore our own needs so we can meet our patients' needs. We ignore our friends and families so we can save other people's friends and families. Which means that, at the end of the day, all we really have is ourselves. And nothing in this world can make you feel more alone than that.

Four hundred years ago, another well-known English guy had an opinion on being alone. John Donne. He thought we were never alone. Of course it was fancier when he said it. No man is an island entire unto himself. Boil down that island talk and he just meant that all anyone needs is someone to step in and let us know we're not alone. And who's to say that someone can't have four legs. Someone to play with, or run around with, or just hang out.

It's an urban myth that suicide rates spike at the holidays. Turns out they actually go down. Experts think it's because people are less inclined to off themselves when surrounded by family. Ironically, that same family togetherness is thought to be the reason that depression rates actually do spike at the holidays. Yeah, okay. Izzie doesn't count.

There's an old proverb that says you can't choose your family. You take what the fates hand you. And like them or not, love them or not, understand them or not, you cope. Then there's the school of thought that says the family you're born into is simply a starting point. They feed you, and clothe you, and take care of you until you're ready to go out into the world and find your tribe.

Fresh starts thanks to the calendar they happen every year —just set your watch to January, our reward for surviving the holiday season is a new year. Bringing on the great tradition of new years resolutions, put your past behind you and start over. It’s hard to resist the chance of a new beginning, a chance to put the problems of last year to bed.

Who gets to determine when the old ends and the new begins? It’s not on the calendar, it’s not a birthday, it’s not a new year, it’s an event —big or small, something that changes us, ideally it gives us hope, a new way of living and looking at the world, letting go of old habits, old memories. What's important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning, but it's also important to remember amid all the crap are a few things really worth holding on to.

As doctors, we're trained to be skeptical, because our patients lie to us all the time. The rule is, every patient is a liar until proven honest. Lying is bad. Or so we are told constantly from birth—honesty is the best policy, the truth shall set you free, I chopped down the cherry tree, whatever. The fact is, lying is a necessity. We lie to ourselves because the truth, the truth freaking hurts.

No matter how hard we try to ignore or deny it, eventually the lies fall away, whether we like it or not. But here's the truth about the truth: It hurts. So we lie.

In surgery, there is a red line on the floor that marks the point where the hospital goes from accessible to off limits to all but a special few. Crossing the line unauthorized is not tolerated. In general, lines are there for a reason. For safety. For security. For clarity. If you choose to cross the line, you pretty much do so at your own risk. So why is it, that the bigger the line, the greater the temptation to cross it?

We can’t help ourselves. We see a line, we want to cross it. Maybe it’s the thrill of trading the familiar for the unfamiliar. A sort of personal dare. Only problem is, once you’ve crossed it’s almost impossible to go back. But if you do manage to make it back across that line you find safety in numbers.

It's... a look patients get in their eyes. There is a scent, the smell of death. Some kind of sixth sense. When the great beyond is headed for you, you feel it coming. What's the one thing you've always dreamed of doing before you die?

In hospitals they say you know. You know you’re going to die. Some doctors say it’s a look patients get in their eyes. Some say there’s a scent, a smell of death. Some say there’s just some kind of sixth sense, when the great beyond is headed for you, you feel it coming. Whatever it is, it's creepy. Because if you know, what do you do about it? Forget about the fact that you're scared out of your mind. If you knew this was your last day on earth, how would you want to spend it?

After careful consideration and many sleepless nights, here’s what I've decided. There's no such thing as a grown-up. We move on, we move out, we move away from our families and form our own. But the basic insecurities, the basic fears and all those old wounds just grow up with us. And just when we think life and circumstances have forced us truly to become an adult, your mother says something like that. Or worse, something like that. We get bigger, we get taller, we get older. But, for the most part, we're still a bunch of kids, running around the playground, trying desperately to fit in.

I've heard that it’s possible to grow up, I've just never met anyone who’s actually done it. Without parents to defy, we break the rules we make for ourselves. We throw tantrums when things don’t go our way. We whisper secrets with our best friend, in the dark. We look for comfort where we can find it. And we hope against all logic, against all experience, like children, we never give up hope.



Okay, so, sometimes even the best of us make rash decisions. Bad decisions. Decisions we pretty much know we're going to regret the moment, the minute, especially the morning after. I mean, maybe not regret, regret because at least, you know, we put ourselves out there. But...still. Something inside us decides to do a crazy thing. A thing we know will probably turn around and bite us in the ass. Yet, we do it anyway. What I'm saying is...we reap what we sow. what comes around goes around. It's karma and, any way you slice it...karma sucks.

One way or another our karma will leave us to face ourselves. We can look our karma in the eye or we can wait for it to sneak up on us from behind. One way or another, our karma will always find us. And the truth is, as surgeons, we have more chances than most to set the balance in our favor. No matter how hard we try we can't escape our karma. It follows us home. I guess we can't really complain about our karma. It's not unfair. It's not unexpected. It just...evens the score. And even when we're about to do something we know will tempt karma to bite us in the ass...well, it goes without saying. We do it anyway.

As doctors, patients are always telling us how they'd do our jobs. Just stitch me up, slap a band-aid on it and send me home. It’s easy to suggest a quick solution, when you don’t know much about the problem or you don’t understand the underlying cause or just how deep the wound is. The first step toward a real cure is to know exactly what the disease is to begin with. But that’s not what people want to hear. We're supposed to forget the past that led us here, ignore the future complications that might arise and go for the quick fix.

As doctors, as friends, as human beings, we all try to do the best we can. But the world is full of unexpected twists and turns. And just when you’ve gotten the lay of the land, the ground underneath you shifts. And knocks you off your feet. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with nothing more than a flesh wound, something a band-aid will cover. But, some wounds are deeper than they first appear and require more than just a quick fix. With some wounds, you have to rip off the band-aid, let them breathe, and give them time to heal.

My college campus has a magic statue. It’s a longstanding tradition for students to rub its nose for good luck. My freshman roommate really believed in the statue's power and insisted on visiting it to rub its nose before every exam. Studying might have been a better idea, she flunked out her sophomore year. The fact is, we all have little superstitious things we do. If it’s not believing in magic statues, it’s avoiding sidewalk cracks or always putting our left shoe on first. Knock on wood. Step on a crack, break your mothers back. The last thing we want to do is offend the gods.

Superstition lies in the space between what we can control and what we can't. Find a penny, pick it up, and all day long you'll have good luck. No one wants to pass up a chance for good luck. But does saying it thirty three times really help? Is anyone really listening? And if no ones listening, why do we bother doing those strange things. We rely on superstitions because we're smart enough to know we don't have all the answers. And that life works in mysterious ways. Don't diss the juju, from wherever it comes.

A good basketball game can have us all on the edge of our seats. Games are all about the glory, pain and the play by play. And then there are the more solitary games. The games we play all by ourselves. The social games, the mind games. We use them to pass the time to make life more interesting... to distract us from what's really going on. There are those of us who love to play games, any games. And there are those of us who love to play a little too much.

Life is not a spectator sport. Win, lose, or draw, the game is on. So go ahead... argue with the ref, change the rules, cheat a little, take a break and tend to your wounds. But play. Play. Play hard, play fast... play loose and free. Play as if there's no tomorrow. Okay, so it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game... right?

The key to being a successful intern is what we give up: sleep, friends, a normal life. We sacrifice it all for that one amazing moment, that moment when you can legally call yourself a surgeon. There are days that make the sacrifices seem worthwhile. And then there are the days where everything feels like a sacrifice. And then there are the sacrifices that you can’t even figure out why you're making.

A wise man once said – “You can have anything in life if you’re willing to sacrifice everything else for it.” What he meant is nothing comes without a price. So before you go into battle, you better decide how much you’re willing to lose. Too often going after what feels good means letting go of what you know is right. And letting someone in means abandoning the walls you’ve spent a lifetime building. Of course the toughest sacrifices are the ones we don’t see coming. When we don’t have time to come up with a strategy to pick sides….or to measure the potential loss. When that happens, when the battle chooses us, and not the other way around, that’s when the sacrifice can turn out to be more than we can bear.

We all go through life like bulls in a china shop. A chip here, a crack there. Doing damage to ourselves, to other people. The problem is trying to figure out how to control the damage we've done, or that's been done to us. Sometimes the damage catches us by surprise. Sometimes we think we can fix the damage. And sometimes the damage is something we can't even see.

We're all damaged, it seems. Some of us, more than others. We carry the damage with us from childhood, then as grownups, we give as good as we get. Ultimately, we all do damage. And then, we set about the business of fixing whatever we can.

In life we are taught that there are seven deadly sins. We all know the big ones... gluttony, pride, lust. But the thing you don't hear much about is anger. Maybe it's because we think anger is not that dangerous, that you can control it. My point is, maybe we don't give anger enough credit. Maybe it can be a lot more dangerous than we think. After all, when it comes to destructive behavior, it did make the top seven.

So what makes anger different from the six other deadly sins? It's pretty simple really, you give into a sin like envy or pride and you only hurt yourself. Try lust or coveting and you'll only hurt yourself and one or two others. But anger, anger is the worst... the mother of all sins... Not only can anger drive you over the edge, when it does you can take an awful lot of people with you.

Season 3 ~Meredith Grey narrations

In the OR, time loses all meaning. In the midst of sutures, and saving lives... the clock ceases to matter. 15 minutes... 15 hours — inside the OR, the best surgeons make time fly. Outside the OR, however, time takes pleasure in kicking our asses. For even the strongest of us it seems to play tricks. Slowing down... hovering... until it freezes. Leaving us stuck in a moment — unable to move in one direction or the other.
Time flies. Time waits for no man. Time heals all wounds. All any of us wants is more time. Time to stand up. Time to grow up. Time to let go. Time.

At any given moment, the brain has 14 billion neurons firing at a speed of 450 miles per hour. We don’t have control over most of them. When we get a chill...goose bumps. When we get excited...adrenaline. The body naturally follows its impulses, which I think is part of what makes it so hard for us to control ours. Of course, sometimes we have impulses we would rather not control, that we later wish we had.



The body is a slave to its impulses. But the thing that makes us human is what we can control. After the storm, after the rush, after the heat of the moment has passed, we can cool off and clean up the messes we made. We can try to let go of what was. Then again...

Surgeons usually fantasize about wild and improbable surgeries. Someone collapses in a restaurant, you splice them open with a butter knife, replace a valve with a hollowed out stick of carrot— but every now and then some other kind of fantasy slips in. Most of our fantasies resolve when we wake, vanished to the back of our mind, but sometimes we're sure if we try hard enough— we can live the dream.

The fantasy is simple. Pleasure is good, and twice as much pleasure is better. That pain is bad, and no pain is better. But the reality is different. The reality is that pain is there to tell us something, and there's only so much pleasure we can take without getting a stomach ache. And maybe that's okay. Maybe some fantasies are only supposed to live in our dreams.

At some point during surgical residency, most interns get a sense of who they are as doctors and the kinds of surgeons they want to become. If you ask them, they'll tell you they want to be general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons. Distinctions which do more than describe their area of expertise, they define who they are, because outside the operating room, not only do most surgeons have no idea who they are, they're also afraid to find out.

First, do no harm. As doctors, we pledge to live by this oath. But harm happens and then guilt happens. And there is no oath for how to deal with that. Guilt never goes anywhere on its own, it brings its friends - doubt and insecurity.

First do no harm, easier said than done. We can take all the oaths in the world, but the fact is, most of us do harm all the time. Sometimes even when we're trying to help, we do more harm than good. And then the guilt rears its ugly head. What you do with that guilt is up to you. We're left with a choice. Either let the guilt throw you back into the behavior that got you into trouble in the first place, or learn from the guilt and do your best to move on.

To make it - really make it - as a surgeon - it takes major commitment. We have to be willing to pick up that scalpel and make a cut that may or may not do more damage than good. It's all about being committed, because if we're not we have no business picking up that scalpel in the first place.


There are times when even the best of us have trouble with commitment, and we may be surprised at the commitments we're willing to let slip out of our grasp. Commitments are complicated. We may surprise ourselves by the commitments we're willing to make. True commitment, takes effort, and sacrifice. Which is why sometimes, we have to learn the hard way, to choose our commitments very carefully.

As surgeons, we are trained to look for disease. Sometimes the problem is easily detected, most of the time we need to go step by step. First, probing the surface looking for any sign of trouble. Most of the time, we can't tell what's wrong with somebody by just looking at them. After all, they can look perfectly fine on the outside, while their insides tell a whole other story.

Not all wounds are superficial. Most wounds run deeper than you can imagine. You can't see them with the naked eye. And then there are the wounds that take us by surprise. The trick with any kind of wound or disease is to dig down and find the real source of the pain - and once you've found it, try like hell to heal that sucker.

Many people don't know that the human eye has a blind spot in its field of vision. There is a part of the world that we are literally blind to. The problem is, sometimes our blind spots shield us from things that really shouldn't be ignored. Sometimes our blind spots keep our lives bright and shiny.

When it comes to our blind spots, maybe our brains aren't compensating. Maybe they're protecting us.

At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, all we really want is to be close to somebody. So this thing where we all keep our distance and pretend not to care about each other, it's usually a load of bull. So we pick and choose who we want to remain close to, and once we've chosen those people, we tend to stick close by. No matter how much we hurt them. The people that are still with you at the end of the day, those are the ones worth keeping. And sure, sometimes close can be too close. But sometimes, that invasion of personal space, it can be exactly what you need.

No one believes that their life will turn out just kind of okay. We all think we are going to be great. And from the day we decide to be surgeons, we are filled with expectation. Expectations of the trails we will blaze, the people we will help, the difference we will make. Great expectations of who we will be, where we will go. And then we get there.

We all think we’re going to be great and we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. But sometimes our expectations sell us short. Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. You got to wonder why we cling to our expectations, because the expected is just what keeps us steady. Standing. Still. The expected's just the beginning, the unexpected is what changes our lives.

As surgeons, we live in a world of worse case scenarios. We cut ourselves off from hoping for the best because too many times the best doesn’t happen. But every now and then something extraordinary occurs and suddenly best case scenarios seem possible. And every now and then something amazing happens, and against our better judgment we start to have hope.

As doctors, we're trained to give our patients just the facts. But what our patients really want to know is- will the pain go away? Will I feel better? Am I cured? What our patients really want to know is- is there hope? But, inevitably, there are times when you find yourself in the worst case scenario. When the patient's body has betrayed them and all the science we have to offer has failed them. When the worst case scenario comes true, and clinging to hope is all we've got left.

Disappearances happen in science. Disease can suddenly fade away, tumors go missing, and we open someone up to discover the cancer is gone. Its unexplained It’s rare, but it happens. We call it mis-diagnosis say we never saw it in the first place, any explanation but the truth. That life is full of vanishing acts. If something that we didn’t know we had disappears, do we miss it?

Like I said, disappearances happen. Pains go phantom. Blood stops running and people, people fade away. There's more I have to say, so much more, but... I've disappeared.

There are medical miracles. Being worshippers of the altar of science, we don't like to believe miracles exist. But they do. Things happen. We can't explain them, we can't control them, but they do happen. Miracles do happen in medicine. They happen everyday, just not always when we need them to happen.

At the end of a day like this, a day when so many prayers are answered and so many aren’t, we take our miracles where we find them. We reach across the gap and sometimes, against all odds, against all logic, we touch...

People have scars. In all sorts of unexpected places. Like secret road maps of their personal histories. Diagrams of all their old wounds. Most of our wounds heal, leaving nothing behind but a scar. But some of them don't. Some wounds we carry with us everywhere and though the cut's long gone, the pain still lingers.

What's worse, new wounds which are so horribly painful or old wounds that should've 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.

Surgeons always have a plan. Where to cut, where to clamp, where to stitch. But, even with the best plans complications can arise, things can go wrong. And suddenly, you're caught with your pants down.

The thing about plans is they don't take into account the unexpected, so when we're thrown a curve ball, whether its in the OR or in life, we have to improvise. Of course, some of us are better at it than others. Some of us just have to move on to plan B and make the best of it. And sometimes what we want is exactly what we need. But sometimes, sometimes what we need is a new plan.

A patient's history is as important as their symptoms. It's what helps us decide if heart burn's a heart attack... if a head ache's a tumor. Sometimes patients will try to re-write their own histories. They'll claim they don't smoke, or forget to mention certain drugs... which in surgery can be the kiss of death. We can ignore it all we want, but our history eventually always comes back to haunt us.

Some people believe that without history, our lives amount to nothing. At some point we all have to choose: do we fall back on what we know, or do we step forward to something new? It's hard not to be haunted by our past. Our history is what shapes us... what guides us. Our history resurfaces time after time after time. So we have to remember sometimes the most important history is the history we’re making today.

As interns, we know what we want, to become surgeons. And we'll do anything to get there. Suffer through killer exam, endure one-hundred hour weeks, Stand for hours on end in operating rooms, you name it, we'll do it.



Too often, the thing you want most is the one thing you can’t have. Desire leaves us heartbroken, it wears us out. Desire can wreck your life. And as tough as wanting something can be, the people who suffer the most are those who don’t know what they want.

The dream is this - that we'll finally be happy when we reach our goals: find the guy, finish our internship, that's the dream. Then we get there. And if we're human, we immediately start dreaming of something else. Because, if this is the dream, then we'd like to wake up. Now, please!

At some point maybe we accept the dream has become a nightmare. We tell ourselves that reality is better. We convince ourselves it's better that we never dream at all. But, the strongest of us, the most determined of us, holds on to the dream or we find ourselves faced with a fresh dream we never considered. We wake to find ourselves, against all odds, feeling hopeful. And, if we're lucky, we realize in the face of everything, in the face of life the true dream is being able to dream at all.

A surgeon's education never ends. Every patient, every symptom, every operation...is a test. A chance for us to demonstrate how much we know. And how much more we have to learn.

Season 4 ~Meredith Grey narrations


In the practice of medicine, change is inevitable. New surgical techniques are created, procedures are updated, levels of expertise increase. Innovation is everything, nothing remains the same for long. We either adapt to change, or we get left behind.



Change; we don’t like it, we fear it, but we can't stop it from coming. We either adapt to change, or we get left behind. And it hurts to grow, anybody who tells you it doesn’t is lying. But here's the truth: The more things change, the more they stay the same. And sometimes, oh, sometimes change is good. Sometimes change, is, everything.

In the hospital, we see addiction every day. It's shocking how many kinds of addiction exist. It would be too easy if it were just drugs and booze and cigarettes. I think the hardest part of kicking a habit is wanting to kick it. I mean, we get addicted for a reason, right? Often, too often, things that start out as just a normal part of your life at some point cross the line to obsessive, compulsive, out of control. It's the high we're chasing, the high that makes everything else fade away.

The thing about addiction is it never ends well, because eventually, whatever it is that was getting us high stops feeling good and starts to hurt. Still, they say you don’t kick the habit until you hit rock bottom, but how do you know when you’re there? Because no matter how badly a thing is hurting us, sometimes letting it go hurts even worse.

Doctors give patients a number of things. We give them medicine, we give them advice, and most of the time, we give them our undivided attention. But, by far, the hardest thing you can give a patient is the truth. The truth is hard. The truth is awkward, and very often, the truth hurts. I mean, people think they want the truth, but do they really?

The truth is painful. Deep down nobody wants to hear it, especially when it hits close to home. Sometimes we tell the truth because the truth is all we have to give. Sometimes we tell the truth because we need to say it out loud to hear it for ourselves. And sometimes we tell the truth because we just can't help ourselves. Sometimes, we tell them, because we owe them at least that much.

Forgive and forget. That's what they say. It's good advice, but it's not very practical. When someone hurts us, we want to hurt them back. When someone wrongs us, we want to be right. Without forgiveness old scores never settle. Old wounds never heal, and the most we can hope for is that someday we'll be lucky enough to forget.


There’s a reason surgeons learn to wield scalpels. We like to pretend we’re hard, cold scientists. We like to pretend we're fearless. But the truth is we become surgeons because somewhere deep down we think we can cut away that which haunts us. Weakness, frailty, death.



It isn't just surgeons. I don't know anyone who isn't haunted by something or someone. And whether we try to slice the pain away with a scalpel or shove it in the back of a closet- our efforts usually fail. So the only way we can clear out the cobwebs is to turn a new page or put an old story to rest- finally, finally to rest.

There’s this thing about being a surgeon. Maybe it’s pride or maybe it’s just about being tough. But a true surgeon never admits they need help unless absolutely necessary. Surgeons don’t need to ask for help because they’re tougher than that. Surgeons are cowboys. Rough around the edges. Hardcore. At least, that’s what they want you to think.

Chemistry, either you've got it or you don´t

There comes a point in your life when you're officially an adult. Suddenly, you're old enough to vote, drink, and engage in other adult activities. Suddenly, people expect you to be responsible, serious... a grown up. We get taller, we get older. But do we ever really grow up?

In some ways we grow up. We have families, we get married, divorced, but for the most part, we still have the same problems that we did when we were fifteen. No matter how much we grow taller, grow older, we are still forever stumbling, forever wondering, forever.. Young.

We go into medicine because we want to save lives. We go into medicine because we want to do good. We go into medicine for the rush... for the high... for the ride. But, what we remember at the end of most days are the losses. What we lay awake at night replaying is the pain we caused or failed to cure. The lives we ruined or failed to save. So the experience of practicing medicine rarely resembles the goal. The experience too often is ass backwards and upside down.

I think it's better to have someone, even if it hurts, even if it's the most painful thing you have to do, even if it's the most painful thing you've ever had to do. I think it's better to have someone.

Some days the whole world seems upside down. And then somehow, and improbably, and when you least expect it, the world rights itself again.


In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the earth, at least that’s what they say. He created the birds of the air and the beasts of the fields, and he looked at his creation and he saw that it was good. And then God created man, and it’s been downhill ever since. The story goes on to say that God created man in his own image, but there’s not much proof of that. After all God made the sun and the moon and the stars, and all man makes is trouble. And when man finds himself in trouble, which is most of the time, he turns to something bigger than himself. To love or faith or religion to make sense of it all. But for a surgeon, the only thing that makes any kind of sense is medicine.


As doctors, we know more about the human body now than at any point in our history. But the miracle of life itself; why people live and die, why they hurt and get hurt is still a mystery. We want to know the reason, the secret, the answer at the back of the book…because the thought of our being all alone down here is just too much for us to bear. But at the end of the day, the fact that we show up for each other, in spite our differences, no matter what we believe, is reason enough to keep believing.

We like to think that we are rational beings; humane, conscientious, civilized, thoughtful. But when things fall apart, even just a little, it becomes clear we are not better than animals. We have opposable thumbs, we think, we walk erect, we speak, we dream, but deep down we are still routing around in the primordial ooze; biting, clawing, scratching out an existence in the cold, dark world like the rest of the tree-toads and sloths.

There’s a little animal in all of us and maybe that’s something to celebrate. Our animal instinct is what makes us seek comfort, warmth, a pack to run with. We may feel caged, we may feel trapped, but still as humans we can find ways to feel free. We are each other’s keepers, we are the guardians of our own humanity and even though there’s a beast inside all of us, what sets us apart from the animals is that we can think, feel, dream and love. And against all odds, against all instinct, we evolve.

Great surgeons aren't made, they're born. It takes gestation, incubation, sacrifice. A lot of sacrifice. But after all the blood and guts and gooey stuff is washed away that surgeon you've become - totally worth it.

Giving birth may be all intense and magical and stuff, but the act itself is not exactly pleasant. But it's also a beginning of something incredible, something new, something unpredictable, something true, something worth loving, something worth missing, something that will change your life forever.

There's this person in my head. She's brilliant. Capable. She can do chest tubes and craniotomies, she can run a code without freaking out. She's a really good surgeon. Maybe even a great surgeon. She's me. Only so much better.

It was a good day. Maybe even a great day. I was a good doctor, even when it was hard, I was the me in my head. There was a moment when I thought I can't do this, I can't do this alone. I close my eyes and imagine myself doing it, and I did, I blocked out the fear, and I did it.

The problem with being a resident is you feel crazy all the time. You haven't slept in years. You spend everyday with people in massive crisis. You lose your ability to judge what's normal, in yourself or anyone else. And yet people are constantly asking you to tell them how you're doing. How the hell are you supposed to know? You don't even know how you're doing.


Don't wonder why people go crazy. Wonder why they don't. In the face of what we can lose in a day, in an instant, wonder what the hell it is that makes us hold it all together.

Season 5 ~Meredith Grey narrations




We all remember the bed time stories of our childhoods. The shoe fits Cinderella, the frog turns into a prince, sleeping beauty is awakened with a kiss. Once upon a time and then they lived happily ever after. Fairy tales, the stuff of dreams. The problem is, fairy tales don't come true. It's the other stories, the ones that begin with dark and stormy nights and end in the unspeakable. It's the nightmares that always seem to become reality. - The person that invented the phrase "Happily ever after" should have his ass kicked, so hard!!


Once upon a time, happier ever after. The stories we tell are the stuff of dreams. Fairy tales don't come true. Reality is much stormier. Much murkier. Much scarier. Reality it’s so much more interesting than living happily ever after.

As surgeons we are trained to fix what’s broken. The breaking point is our starting line... at work. But in our lives the breaking point is a sign of weakness and we’ll do everything we can to avoid it.

Bones break. Organs burst. Flesh tears. We can sew the flesh, repair the damage, ease the pain. But when life breaks down...when we break down...there’s no science. No hard and fast rules. We just have to feel our way through. And to a surgeon there’s nothing worse, and there’s nothing better.

In 6500 BC, some guy looked at his friend and said "Let's drill a hole in your head... that will make you feel better." And thus surgery was born. It takes a certain brand of crazy to think of drilling into someone's skull, but surgeons have always been a confident bunch. We don't always know what we're doing, but we act like we do. We walk into a country, plant a flag and start ordering people around. It's invigorating and terrifying.

We like to think we're fearless, eager to explore unknown lands and soak up new experiences, but the fact is, we're always terrified. Maybe the terror is part of the attraction. Some people go to horror movies. We cut things open. Dive into dark water. And at the end of the day, isn't that what you'd rather to hear about? If you've got one drink and one friend and 45 minutes. Slow rides make for boring stories. A little calamity. Now that's worth talking about.

I am a rock. I am an island. That's the mantra to pretty much every surgeon that I've ever met. We like to think we're independent. Loners. Mavericks. That all we need to do our jobs is an OR, a scalpel, and a willing body...But the truth is, not even the best of us can do it alone. Surgery, like life, is a team sport...and eventually, you've gotta get off the bench and decide... which team are you batting for.

The thing about choosing teams in real life.. It's nothing like it used to be in gym class.. being 1st picked can be terrifying And being chosen last... isn't the worst thing in the world. So we watch from the sidelines, clinging to our isolation, because we know as soon as we let go of the bench, someone comes along and changes the game completely.

For a surgeon, every patient is a battlefield. They're our terrain. Where we advance, retreat, try to remove all the landmines...And just when you think you've won the battle, made the world safe again. Along comes another landmine...

Some wars result in complete and total victory. Some wars end with a peace offering. And some wars end in hope...But all these wars are nothing compared to the most frightening war of all. The one you have yet to fight.

If you’re a normal person, one of the few things you can count on in life is death. But if you’re a surgeon, even that comfort is taken away from you. Surgeons cheat death. We prolong it. We deny it. We stand and defiantly give death the finger.

We're born, we live, we die... sometimes not necessarily in that order. We put things to rest, only to have them rise up again. So if death is not the end, what can we count on anymore? Because you sure can't count on anything in life. Life is the most fragile, unstable, unpredictable thing there is. In fact, there's only one thing in life we can be sure of. It ain't over till it's over.

It's intense, what happens in the OR, when lives are on the line and you're poking at brains like they're silly putty. You form a bond with the surgeons right next to you. An indescribable, unbreakable bond. It's intimate being tied together like that. Whether you like it or not, whether you like them or not, you become family.

The ties that binds us are sometimes impossible to explain. They connect us even after it seems like the ties should be broken. Some bonds defy distance and time and logic; Because some ties are simply... meant to be.

When you're little, night time is scary because there are monsters hiding right under the bed. When you get older the monsters are different. Self doubt, Loneliness, Regret. And though you may be older and wiser, you still find yourself scared of the dark.

Sleep. Its the easiest thing to do; you just close your eyes. but for so many of us, sleep seems out of grasp. We want it, but we don't know how to get it. Yet once we face our fears and turn to each other for help, night time isn't so scary because we realize even in the dark, we aren't all alone.

My mother called it the greatest and most terrifying moment in her life, standing at the head of the surgical table knowing that the patient’s life depends on you and you alone. It what we all dream about because the first person that gets to fly solo in the OR, kind of a badass.

We enter the world alone and we leave it alone. And everything that happens in between, we owe it to our self to find a little company. We need help. We need support. Otherwise we’re in it by our self. Strangers, cut off from each other and we forget just how connect we all are. So instead we choose love. We choose life and for a moment we feel just a little bit less alone.

We all get at least one good wish in a year over the candles on our birthday. Some of us throw in more, on eyelashes, fountains, lucky stars. And every now and then, one of those wishes come true. So what then? Is it as good as we hoped? Do we bask in the warm glow of our happiness or do we just notice we’ve got a long list of other wishes waiting to be wished.

We don’t wish for the easy stuff. We wish for big things. Things that are ambitious, out of reach. We wish because we need help and we’re scared and we know we may be asking too much. We still wished though because sometimes they come true.

My mother used to say this about residency, “It takes a year to learn how to cut. It takes a lifetime to learn not to.” Of all of the tools on the surgical tray, sound judgment is the trickiest one to master. And without it, we’re all just toddlers running around with ten blades.

We’re human. We make mistakes. We mis-estimate. We call it wrong. But when a surgeon makes a bad judgment call, it’s not as simple. People get hurt. They bleed. So we struggle over every stitch. We agonize over every suture because the snap judgments, the ones that come to us quickly and easily without hesitation, they’re the one that haunt us forever.

Any first year med student knows that an increase heart rate is a sign of trouble. A racing heart can indicate anything from a panic disorder to something much, much more serious. A heart that flutters, or one that skips a beat, could be a sign of secret affliction or it could indicate romance which is the biggest trouble of all.

It seems we have no control what so ever over our own hearts. Condition can change without warning. Romance can make the heart pound just like panic can. And panic can make it stop cold in your chest. It’s no wonder doctors spend so much time to keep the heart stable, to keep it slow, steady, regular to stop the heart from pounding out of your chest from the dread of something terrible or the anticipation or something else entirely.

Every patient’s story starts the same way. It starts with them being fine, it starts in the before. They cling to this moment, this memory of being fine, this before, as though talking about it may somehow bring it back. But what they don’t realise is that they’re talking about it to us, their doctors and that means there’s no going back. By the time they see us, they’re already in the after. And while every patient’s story starts the same way, how the story ends depends on us, on how well we diagnose and treat. We know the story hinges on us and we all want to be the hero.

Patients see us as gods or they see us as monsters. But the fact is, we’re just people. We screw up, either way. Even the best of us, have our off days. Still we move forward. We don’t rest our laurels or celebrate the lives we’ve saved in the past. Because there’s always some other patient that needs our help. So we force ourselves to keep trying, to keep learning. In the hope that, maybe, someday we’ll come just a little bit closer to the gods our patients need us to be.

Every surgeon I know has, a shadow. A dark cloud of fear and that follows even the best of us into the OR. We pretend the shadow isn’t there hoping that if we save more lives, master harder techniques, run faster and farther it will get tired and give up the chase but like they say... you can’t outrun your shadow.

Every surgeon has a shadow. And the only way to get rid of a shadow is to turn off the lights, to stop running from the darkness and face what you fear, head on.

Surgeons aren’t known for being warm and cuddly. They’re arrogant, impatient, mean as often as not. You’d think they wouldn’t have friends 'cuz who could stand them? But surgeons, are like a bad cold. Nasty, but persistent. Surgeons: nasty, aggressive, unstoppable, just the kind of people you want on your side when you’re really screwed.

Practicing medicine doesn’t lend itself well to the making of friends. Maybe because life and mortality are in our faces all the time. Maybe because in staring down death everyday, we’re forced to know that life, every minute is borrowed time. And each person, we let ourselves care about is just one more loss somewhere down the line. For this reason, I know some doctors who just don’t bother making friends at all. But the rest of us, we make it our job to move that line. To push each loss as far away as we can.

Defeat isn’t an option. Not for surgeons. We don’t back away from the table til the last breaths long gone. Terminals a challenge, life threatening's what gets us out of bed in the morning. We’re not easily intimidated, we don’t flinch, we don’t back down and we certainly don’t surrender, not at work anyway.

To do our jobs we have to believe defeat is not an option. That no matter how sick our patients get, there’s hope for them. But even when our hopes give way to reality, and we finally have to surrender to the truth, it just means we’ve lost to today’s battle, not tomorrow’s war. Here’s the thing about surrender, once you do it, actually give in, you forget why you were fighting in the first place.

Remember when we were little and we would accidentally bite a kid on the playground. Our teachers would go, “Say you’re sorry”, and we would say it, but we wouldn’t mean it cause the stupid kid we bit, totally deserved it. But as we get older, making amends isn’t so simple. After the playground days are over you can’t just say it, you have to mean it. Of course when you become a doctor, sorry is not a happy word. It either means you’re dying and I can’t help. Or it means this is really going to hurt.

As doctors we can’t undo our mistakes, and we rarely forgive ourselves for them, but it’s a hazard of the trade. But as human beings we can always try to do better, to be better, to re-write a wrong even if it feels irreversible. Of course, “I’m sorry” doesn’t always cut it. Maybe because we use it so many different ways: as a weapon, as an excuse. But when we are really sorry. When we use it right. When we mean it. When actions say what words never can. When we get it right, “I’m sorry” is perfect. When we get it right, “I’m sorry” is redemption.

When something begins, you generally have no idea how it’s going to end. The house you’re going to sell becomes your home, the roommates you were forced to take in become your family and the one night stand you were determined to forget becomes the love of your life.

We spend our whole lives worrying about the future, planning for the future, trying to predict the future, as if figuring it out will cushion the blow. But the future is always changing. The future is the home of our deepest fears and wildest hopes. But one thing is certain when it finally reveals itself. The future is never the way we imagined it.

 Did you say it? "I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life." Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around. Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow.



Season 6 ~Meredith Grey narrations

According to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, when we're dying or have suffered a catastrophic loss, we all move through five distinct stages of grief. We go into denial because the loss is so unthinkable we can’t imagine it’s true. We become angry with everyone, angry with survivors, angry with ourselves. Then we bargain. We beg. We plead. We offer everything we have, we offer our souls in exchange for just one more day. When the bargaining has failed and the anger is too hard to maintain, we fall into depression, despair, until finally we have to accept that we’ve done everything we can. We let go. We let go and move into acceptance.

In medical school, we have a hundred lessons that teach us how to fight off death, and not one lesson on how to go on living.

The dictionary defines grief as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret. As surgeons, as scientists, we’re taught to learn from and rely on books, on definitions, on definitives. But in life, strict definitions rarely apply. In life, grief can look like a lot of things that bear little resemblance to sharp sorrow.

Paranoia gives you an edge in the OR. Surgeons play out worst-case scenarios in their heads. You’re ready to close, you got the bleeder. You know it but there’s that voice in your head asking. What if you didn’t? What if the patient dies and you could have prevented it? So you check your work one more time before you close. Paranoia is a surgeon’s best friend.

We're all susceptible to it, the dread and anxiety of not knowing what's coming. It's pointless in the end, because all the worrying and the making of plans for things that could or could not happen, it only makes things worse. So walk your dog or take a nap. Just whatever you do, stop worrying. Because the only cure for paranoia is to be here, just as you are.

We begin life with few obligations. We pledge allegiance to the flag. We swear to return our library books. But as we get older we take vows, make promises, get burden by commitments, to do no harm, to tell the truth and nothing but, to love, to cherish till death do us part. So we just keep running up the tap till we owe everything to everybody and suddenly…what the.

The thing about being a surgeon, everybody wants a piece of you. We take one little oath, and suddenly we’re drowning in obligations. To our patients, to our colleagues, to medicine itself. So we do what any sane person would do. We run like hell from our promises, hoping they’ll be forgotten. But sooner or later, they always catch up. And sometimes you find the obligation you dread the most isn’t worth running from at all.

When you get sick, it starts off with a single infection. One lone nasty intruder. Pretty soon the intruder duplicates. Becomes two. Then those two become four. And those four become eight. Then, before your body knows it, it’s under attack. It’s an invasion. The question for a doctor is, once the invaders have landed, once they’ve taken over your body, how the hell do you get rid of them?

What do you do when the infection hits you, when it takes over? Do you do what you're supposed to and take your medicine? Or do you learn to live with the thing and hope someday it goes away? Or do you just give up entirely and let it kill you?

In order to get a good diagnosis, doctors have to constantly change their perspective. We start by getting the patient’s point of view, though they often don’t have a clue what’s going on. So we look at the patient from every possible angle. We rule things out. We uncover new information, trying to get to what’s actually wrong. We’re asked for second opinions, hoping we’ll see something others might have missed. For the patient, a fresh perspective can mean the difference between living and dying. For the doctor, it can mean picking that you’re picking a fight with everyone who got there before you.

When we're headed toward an outcome that's too horrible to face, that's when we go looking for a second opinion. And sometimes, the answer we get just confirms our worst fears. But sometimes, it can shed new light on the problem, make you see it in a whole new way. After all the opinions have been heard and every point of view has been considered, you finally find what you're after - the truth. But the truth isn't where it ends, that's just where you begin again with a whole new set of questions.

It’s impossible to describe the panic that comes over you when you’re a surgeon and your pager goes off in the middle of the night. Your heart starts to race. Your mind freezes. Your fingers go numb. You’re invested. There’s someone’s mom, someone’s dad, someone’s kid. And now it’s on you because that someone’s life is in your hands. Surgeons, we’re always investing in our patients. But when your patient’s a child, you’re not just invested, you’re responsible. Responsible for whether or not that child survives, has a future. And that’s enough to terrify anyone.

They say the bigger your investment, the bigger your return. But you have to be willing to take a chance. You have to understand, you might lose it all. But if you take that chance, if you invest wisely, the payoff might just surprise you.

Doctors live in a world of constant progress and forward motion. Stand still for a second, and you'll be left behind. But as hard as we try to move forward, as tempting as it is to never look back, the past always comes back to bite us in the ass. And as history shows us again and again, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

Sometimes the past is something you just can't let go of. And sometimes the past is something we'll do anything to forget. And sometimes we learn something new about the past that changes everything we know about the present.

The best gift I ever got was for Christmas when I was ten – my very first suture kit. I used it until my fingers bled, and then I tried to use it to stitch up my fingers. It put me on the path to becoming a surgeon. My point is sometimes the best gifts come in really surprising packages.

Number one rule of surgery is limit exposure. Keep your hands clean, your incisions small, and your wounds covered. Number two rule of surgery is when rule number one stops working, try something else. Because sometimes you can't limit exposure, sometimes the injury is so bad you have to cut, and cut big.

In surgery, the healing process begins with a cut, an incision, the tearing of flesh. We have to damage the healthy flesh in order to expose the unhealthy. It feels cruel and against common sense, but it works. You risk exposure for the sake of healing, and when it's over, once the incision has been closed, you wait. You wait and hope that your patient will heal. That you haven't in fact, just made everything worse.

The surgical scalpel is made of sterilized, carbonized stainless steel. This is a vast improvement over the first scalpel, which was pretty much a sharp stick. Medicine is constantly reinventing itself, that means surgeons have to keep reinventing themselves too. There's constant pressure to adapt to changes. It can be a painful process. But without it, you'll find yourself moving backwards instead of forwards.

We have to keep reinventing ourselves almost every minute because the world can change in an instant, and there's no time for looking back. Sometimes the changes are forced on us, sometimes they happen by accident, and we make the most of them. We have to constantly come up with new ways to fix ourselves. So we change, we adapt, we create new versions of ourselves. We just need to be sure that this one is an improvement over the last.

Surgeons are detail-oriented. We like statistics and checklists and operating procedures. Our patients live because we enjoy following the steps but as much as we love to always rely on the numbers, the plan we also know that some of the greatest medical discoveries have happened by accident. Mold: Penicilin. Poisonous tree bark: a cure for Malaria, a little blue pill for high blood pressure, impotence be damned. It’s hard for us to accept that it’s not always the hard work or attention to detail that will get us the answers we are looking for. Sometimes we just have to sit back, relax and wait for happy accident.

No matter how many plans we make or steps we follow, we never know how our day is going to end up. We’d prefer to know, of course, what curveballs will be thrown our way. It’s the accidents that always turn out to be the most interesting parts of our day, the people we never expected to show up, a turn of events we never would have chose for ourselves. All of a sudden you find yourself somewhere you never expected to be and its nice, or it takes some getting used to. Still, maybe you’ll find yourself appreciating it somewhere down the line. So you go to sleep each night thinking about tomorrow, going over your plans, preparing for them, and hoping that whatever accidents come your way will be happy ones.

Surgeons aren’t complacent people. We don’t put our feet up. We don’t sit still. Whatever the game is, we like to win. And once we win, we get a new game. We push ourselves; residents, attending. It doesn’t matter how much we achieve. If you’re a climber there’s always another mountain.

They take pictures of mountain climbers at the top of a mountain. They’re smiling, ecstatic, triumphant. They don’t take pictures along the way cos who wants to remember the rest of it. We push ourselves because we have to, not because we like it. The relentless climb, the pain and anguish of taking it to the next level. Nobody takes pictures of that. Nobody wants to remember. We just wanna remember the view from the top. The breathtaking moment at the edge of the world. That’s what keeps us climbing. And it’s worth the pain. That’s the crazy part. It’s worth anything.

Psychologists believe that every aspect of our lives, all our thought processes & behavior patterns, are the direct result of our relationship to our parents. That every relationship that we have is really just another version of that first relationship. It's just us trying over & over again to get it right.

It's the most important job in the world. You probably should need a license to do it, but then most of us wouldn't even pass the written exam. Some people are naturals. They were born to do it. Some have other gifts. But the good news is biology dictates you don't have to do it alone. You can waste your whole life wondering, but the only way to find out what kind of parent you'd be is to finally stop talking about it and just do it.

We're doctors - we're trained to care for human beings and we're pretty sure we know what to look for. Cuts, infection, genetic mutation.

The skin is the largest organ in the body. It protects us. Holds us together. Literally lets us know how we’re feeling. The skin can be soft and vulnerable. Highly sensitive. Easy to break. Skin doesn’t matter to a surgeon, we’ll cut right through it, go inside, find out the secrets underneath. It takes delicacy and sensitivity.

No matter how thick-skinned we try to be, there’s millions of electrifying nerve endings in there. Open and exposed and feeling way too much. Try as we might from feeling pain. Sometimes it’s just unavoidable. Sometimes, that’s the only thing left: just feeling.

It's a common belief that positive thinking leads to a happier healthier life. As children we are told to smile, be cheerful, and put on a happy face. As adults we are told to look on the bright side, to make lemonade, and see glasses as half full. Sometimes reality can get in the way of our ability to act the happy part though. Your health can fail, boyfriends can cheat, friends can disappoint. It's in these moments, when you just want to get real, drop the act, and be your true scared unhappy self.

Ask most people what they want out of life and the answer is simple - to be happy. Maybe it's this expectation though of wanting to be happy that just keeps us from ever getting there. Maybe the more we try to will ourselves to states of bliss, the more confused we get - to the point where we don't recognize ourselves. Instead we just keep smiling - trying to be the happy people we wish we were. Until it eventually hits us, it's been there all along. Not in our dreams or our hopes but in the known, the comfortable, the familiar.

For most people, the hospital is a scary place. A hostile place. A place where bad things happen. Most people would prefer church, or school, or home, but I grew up here. While my mom was on rounds, I learned to read in the OR gallery, I played in the morgue, I colored with crayons on old ER charts. The hospital was my church, my school, my home; the hospital was my safe place, my sanctuary. I love it here. Correction: loved it here.



Season 7 ~Meredith Grey narrations

Every cell in the human body regenerates on average every seven years. Like snakes, in our own way we shed our skin. Biologically we are brand new people. We may look the same, we probably do, the change isn't visible at least in most of us, but we are all changed completely forever.
When we say things like "people don't change" it drives scientists crazy because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy. Matter. It's always changing, morphing, merging, growing, dying. It's the way people try not to change that's unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting them be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing despite every scientific indication that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience change that's up to us. It can feel like death or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, we can be born all over again.

They say lightning never strikes twice, but that's a myth. It doesn't happen often. Lightning usually gets it right the first time. When you're hit with 30 amps of electricity you feel it. It can make you forget who you are, can burn you, blind you, stop your heart and cause massive internal injuries. It can change your life forever.

Lightning doesn’t often strike twice. It’s a once in a lifetime thing. Even if it feels like the shock is coming over and over again. Eventually the pain will go away, the shock will wear off. And you start to heal yourself. To recover from something you never saw coming. But, sometimes the odds are in your favor. If you’re in just the right place at just the right time you can take a helluva hit. And still have a shot at surviving.

Most surgeons grew up being freaks. While other kids played outside, we hold up in our rooms, memorizing the periodic table, hovering for hour over our genuine microscopes, dissecting our first frogs. Imagine how surprised and relieved we were when we grew up and found out that others out there are just as freaky as we were. Same microscopes, same dead frogs, same inexplicable urge to take human beings apart.

Nobody chooses to be a freak. Most people don't even realize they're freak until it's too late to change it. But no matter how much of a freak you end up being, chances are there's still someone out there for you. Unless of course they've already moved on. Because when it comes to love, even freaks can't wait forever.

Biology determines much of the way we live. From the moment we're born we know how to breathe and eat. As we grow older, new instincts kick in. We become territorial, we seek shelter… And most important of all, we reproduce. Sometimes biology can turn on us though. Yeah, biology sucks sometimes.

Biology says that we are who we are from birth. That our DNA is set in stone. Unchangeable. Our DNA doesn't account for all of us though. Life changes us. We develop new trades. Become less territorial. We stop competing. We learn from our mistakes. We face our greatest fears. For better or worse. We find ways to change our biology. The risk, of course is that we can change to much, to the point we don't recognize ourselves. Finding a way back can be difficult. There is no compass, no map. We just have to close our eyes, take a step and hope to God we'll get there.

They train doctors slowly. They watch us practice on frogs, and pigs, and dead people, and then live people. They drill us relentlessly. They raise us like children. And eventually, they take a cold, hard boot, and they kick us out of the nest.


We all want to grow up. We're desperate to get there, to grab all the opportunities we can... to live. We're so busy trying to get out of that nest... We don't think about the fact that it's going to be cold out there... really freakin' cold. Because growing up sometimes means leaving people behind. And by the time we stand on our own two feet... we're standing there alone.

Question: When was the last time a complete stranger took off her clothes in front of you, pointed to a big purple splotch on her back, and asked, "What the hell is this thing?" If you're a normal person, the answer is hopefully "never". If you're a doctor, the answer is probably about five minutes ago. People expect doctors to have all of the answers. The truth is we love to think that we have all of the answers too. Basically doctors are know-it-alls until something comes along that reminds us we're not.

We're all looking for answers in medicine, in life, in everything. Sometimes the answers we're looking for have been hiding just below the surface. Other times we find answers when we didn't even realize we were asking the question. Sometimes the answers can catch us completely by surprise. And sometimes, even when we find the answer we've been looking for, we're still left with a whole hell of a lot of questions.

The human body is a highly pressurized system the blood pressure measures the force of blood pulsating through the arteries. It's important to keep this pressure regulated low or inadequate pressure can cause weakness or failure. It's when the pressure gets too high that problems really occur. If the pressure continues to increase, a closer examination is called for because it's the best indicator that something is going terribly wrong.

Every pressurized system needs a relief valve, there has to be a way to reduce the stress, the tension before it becomes too much to bear. There has to be a way to find relief because if the pressure doesn't find a way out it'll make one. It will explode. It's the pressure we put on ourselves that's the hardest to bear. The pressure to be better than we are. The pressure to be better than we think we can be. It never ever lets up. It just builds and builds and builds. We never know.

We doctors, take pride in the fact that we can basically sleep standing up. Anytime, anywhere. But it's a false pride because the truth is, after about 20 hours without sleep, you might as well just come to work drunk, doctor, or not. So, it's no wonder that fatal medical errors increase at night. When we doctors are, proudly, sleeping on our feet. Recently, our communal pride has been shattered, and our egos have been wounded by new laws that require that we sleep all day before we work all night. We're not happy about it. But as someone who might one day need medical care, you really should be.

Under the cover of darkness, people do things they'd never do under the harsh glare of day. Decisions feel wiser, people feel bolder. But when the sun rises, you have to take responsibility for what you did in the dark and face yourself under the cold, harsh light of day.

The first 24 hours after surgery are critical. Every breath you take, every fluid you make, is meticulously reported and analyzed. Celebrated or mourned. But what about the next 24 hours? What happens with that first day turns to two and weeks turn into months? What happens when the immediate danger has passed, when the machines are disconnected and the teams of doctors and nurses are gone? Surgery is when you get saved, but post-op, after surgery, is when you heal. But, what if you don't?

To a degree, medicine is a science...but I would argue that it's also an art. The doctors who see medicine as a science only, you don't want them by your side when you're bleeding won't stop or when your child is screaming in pain. The clinicians go by the book. The artists follow their guts. The artists feel your pain and they go to extremes to make it stop. Extreme measures. That's where science ends and art begins.

Surgery is extreme. We cut into your body, take out pieces, and put what's left back together. Good thing life doesn't come with a scalpel because if it did, when things started to hurt, we would just cut and cut and cut. The thing is what we take away with a scalpel we can't ever get back. So, like a said, good thing.

People are really romantic about the beginnings of things. Fresh start, clean slate, a world of possibility. But no matter what new adventure you're embarking on, you're still you. You bring you into every new beginning in your life. So how different can it possibly be?


It's all anybody wants, right? Clean slate, a new beginning. Like that's gonna be any easier. Ask the guy pushing the boulder up the hill. Nothing is easy about starting over. Nothing at all.

Doctors practice deception all the time. We give vague answers to hard questions. We don't talk about post-op pain. We say you'll experience some discomfort. If you didn't die, we tell you that surgery went well. But the placebo has to be the doctor's greatest deception. Half of our patients we tell the truth, the other half, we pray that the placebo effect is real. And we tell ourselves that they'll feel better anyhow. Believing help is on the way, when in fact, we're leaving them to die.

Doctors practice deception every day. On our patients, on their families… But the worst deception we practice is on ourselves. Which is why sometimes it takes us a while to realize that the truth has been in front of us the whole time.

One of the hardest lessons as a doctor is learning to prioritize. We're trained to do all we can to save life and limb, but, if cutting off a limb, means saving a life, we learn to do it without hesitation. It's not an easy lesson to learn, and it always comes down to one question, "what are the stakes?" What do we stand to gain or lose? At the end of the day, we're just gamblers trying not to bet the farm.

Surgery is a high stakes game. But no matter how high the stakes, sooner or later, you're just going to have to go with your gut, and, maybe just maybe, that'll take you right where you were meant to be in the first place.

How much can you actually accomplish in an hour? Run an errand maybe, sit in traffic, get an oil change. When you think about it an hour isn't very long. Sixty minutes. Thirty-six hundred seconds. That's it. In medicine, though, an hour is often everything. We call it the golden hour. That magical window of time that can determine whether a patient lives or dies.

An hour, one hour, can change everything forever. An hour can save your life. An hour can change your life. Sometimes an hour is a gift we give ourselves. For some, an hour can mean almost nothing. For others, an hour makes all the difference in the world. But in the end, it's still just an hour. One of many. Many more to come. Sixty minutes. Thirty-six hundred seconds. That's it. Then it starts all over again. And who knows what the next hour might hold.

Everyone figures doctors are the most responsible people they know. They hold lives in their hands. They're not flakes. They don't lose track of important details or make stunningly bad judgment calls. 'Cause that would be bad, right?


We are responsible with our patients. The problem is we blow it all out at work. In our own lives, we can't think things through. We don't make the sound choice. We did that all day at the hospital. When it comes to ourselves, we've got nothing left. And is it worth it—being responsible? Because if you take your vitamins and pay your taxes and never cut the line, the universe still gives you people to love and then lets them slip through your fingers like water, and then what have you got? Vitamins and nothing.

Renegades, rule-breakers, gangsters with scalpels, this is the way we like to think of ourselves. It makes us feel bad-ass, sexy. Problem is, it's not exactly true. At heart, we're rule-followers, sheep. We don't break protocol. We follow it to a tee. Because if you don't follow protocol, our patients die and we're no longer bad ass, we're just bad.

It's every doctor's dilemma. Do you play it safe and follow protocol? Or take a risk and invent a new one? There can be reward in risk. There can also be fallout. Still you need to book the system every once in a while. Bet big. And when you get the results you want, there's no better feeling in the world, but when you don't.

The brain is the human body's most mysterious organ. It learns. It changes. It adapts. It tells us what we see. What we hear. It lets us feel love. I think it holds our soul. But no matter how much research we do, no one can really say how all that delicate gray matter inside our skull works. And when it's hurt, when the human brain is traumatized, well... that's when it gets even more mysterious.

Germs, disease, toxins, our bodies encounter dangers all the time, just beneath the surface, hidden. Whether you realize it or not, your body is constantly protecting itself. Every time you blink your eye, you wash away thousands of unwanted microbes. Too much pollen and you sneeze. The body knows when it's encountered something that doesn't belong. The body detects the invader, it releases its white blood cells, and it attacks.

Just when we think we've figured things out, the universe throws us a curve ball. So we have to improvise, we find happiness in unexpected places, we find our way back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way, sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong.

"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 love. We want success. So we fight like hell to get those things. Anything else feels like death.

I always said I'd be happier alone. I'd have my work, my friends - but someone in your life all the time? More trouble than it's worth. Apparently, I got over it.


There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone. Because what if you learn that you need love and then you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.

Season 8 ~Meredith Grey narrations


Even good marriages fail. One minute you're standing on solid ground, the next minute- you're not. And there're always two versions. Yours, and theirs. The both versions start the same way though. The both start with two people falling in love. You think yours is the one that's gonna make it. So it always comes as a shock. The moment you realize it's over. One minute you're standing on solid ground, the next minute, you're not.


Do you have what it takes? If your marriage is in trouble, can you weather the storm? When the ground gives way and your world collapses, maybe you just need to have faith. And trust that you can survive this together. Maybe you just need to hold on tight. And no matter what, don't let go.

When my mother left my father, she didn't tell him she was leaving him and taking me with her until we landed on the other side of the country. And those days, it was called family troubles. Today, it'd be called kidnapping.

You think that true love is the only thing that crush your heart. The thing that will take your life and light it out. Or destroy it. Then, you become a mother.

Sometimes, it happens in an instant. We step up. We become a leader. We see a path, and we take it. Even when we have no idea where we are going.

The human body is designed to compensate for loss. It adapts, so it no longer needs the thing it can't have. But sometimes the loss is too great, and the body can't compensate on its own. That's when surgeons get involved.

We're so hopeful at the beginning of things. It seems like there's only a world to be gained not lost. They say the inability to accept loss is a form of insanity, it's probably true. But sometimes, it's the only way to stay alive.

As babies, we were easy. One cry meant you were hungry, another you were tired. It's only as adults that we become difficult. They start to hire feelings, put up walls. It gets to the point where we don't really know what anyone thinks or feels. Without meaning to, we become masters of disguise.

It's not always easy to speak your mind, sometimes you need to be forced to do it. Sometimes, it's better to just keep things to yourself, play dumb, even when your whole body is aching to come clean. So you shut your mouth, keep your secret, and find other ways to keep yourself happy.

Surgeons can't be lazy, the risks are too great. The second we stop pushing ourselves, something terrible happens. Something we never see coming.

So we may no always be winners, but we're not lazy, we take chances, we go for broke, we swing for the fences, and sometimes, yeah, we struck out. But sometimes... you get a home run.

It's a little bit horrifying just how quickly everything can fall to crap. Sometimes it takes a huge loss to remind you of who you care about the most. Sometimes you find yourself becoming stronger as a result; wiser, better equipped to deal with the next disaster that comes along. Sometimes, but not always.

"I had a terrible day." We say it all the time. A fight with the boss, the stomach flu, traffic... That's what we describe as terrible when nothing terrible is happening...

These are the things we beg for: a root canal, an IRS audit, coffee spilled on our clothes... When the really terrible things happen, we start begging a God we don't believe in to bring back the little horrors and take away this. It seems quaint now, doesn't it? The flood in the kitchen, the poison oak, the fight that leaves you shaking with rage... Would it have helped if we could see what else was coming? Would we have known that those were the best moments of our lives?

Victims of a sudden impact are some of the hardest to treat. It's not just the collision that injures them. It's everything after. The centrifugal force keeps them moving, tossing them from vehicles, throwing them through windshields, slamming their internal organs into the skeleton. Their bodies are injured over and over again. So there's no way to know how much damage has actually been done. Until they stop.

You can't prepare for a sudden impact. You can't brace yourself. It just hits you. Out of nowhere. And suddenly, the life you knew before is over. Forever.

Have you ever had the starring role on a play? The solo in a recital? All eyes on you, waiting for you to do what they came to see. Feeling the incredible pressure to perform. There was a time when they used to call operating rooms an operating theater. It still feels like one. Score of people get ready for the show. The sets are arranged, there are costumes, masks, props, everything has to be rehearsed, coreographed, all leading to the moment when the curtain goes up. You know what they say about the Carnegie Hall, there's only one way to get there.

If only life was just a dress rehearsal and we had time to do-overs. We'd be able to practice and practice every moment until we got it right. Unfortunately everyday of our lives is its own performance. It seems like even when we get the chance to rehearse, and prepare, and practice... We've still not quite ready for life's grand moments.

There's nothing else we can do for you. These are the last words a surgeon wants to tell a patient. Giving up doesn't come easy to us, so we do everything in our power not to. For surgeons lost cause just mean... try a little harder.

When do you throw in the towel? Admit that a lost cause it's sometimes just that? There comes a point when it all becomes too much. When we get too tired to fight anymore. So we give up. That's when the real work begins. To find hope where there seems to be absolutely none at all.

The baby you have is the baby you were destined to have. It was meant to be. That's what all the adoption people tell you. Anyway... I like to think it's true, but everything else in the world seems so completely random. What if one little thing I said or did could have made it all fall apart? What if I've chosen another life for myself? Or another person? We might have never found each other. What if I've been raised differently? What if my mother had never been sick? What if I've actually had a good father? What if...? What if...? What if...?

Your life is a gift. Accept it. No matter how screwed up or how painful it seems to be. Somethings are going to work out as if they were destined to happen... As if they were just meant to be.

There are times in our lives when love really does conquer all: exhaustion, sleep deprivation, anything. And then there are those times when it seems like love brings us nothing but pain.

We are always looking for ways to ease the pain. Sometimes we ease the pain by making the best of what we have. Sometimes is by losing ourselves in the moment and sometimes all we need to do to ease pain is... call a simple truce.

When you've tried everything but that headache don't go away, you can't stop coughing, the swelling don't go down. That's when you turn into a professional. As surgeon we spend years developing skills of perception that allow us to see exactly what the problem is. Trouble is sometimes all that time spent developing those skills of perception can leave a person with an extremely narrow point of view... And how are you supposed to argue with someone who has science on their side?

We may not like it but it really is important to stop every once in a while, get out of your own head and see the bigger picture. Actually find out that you were looking things all wrong can be sort of liberating. And suddenly you see new potential, new possibilities we've never seen it before and that's all fine when a hopeless situation suddenly looks good. Unfortunately sometimes it goes the other way.

As surgeons we are trained to consult with each other to get opposing views. We even encourage patients to seek second opinions. But why seek a second opinion when you know that you are right? Cause if we are honest with ourselves, surgeons are more like cowboys. We are more likely to go it alone.

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 are 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 already probably knew. The one that's almost always right.

We're trained to be vigilant, to chase down the problem, to ask all the right questions. To find the root of cause until we know exactly what it's and we can confront it. It takes an extremely amount of caution or we can overstep ourselves. We can create problems where none exist.

Our intentions are always pure, we always want to do what's right, but we also have the drive to push boundaries. So we are in danger of taking things too far. We're told to do no harm while we're trained to cut you open with a knife. So we do things when we should have left well enough alone. Because it's hard to admit when there's no problem to treat, to let it alone. Before we make it so much worse. Before we cause such a terrible damage.

We have a phrase in the operating room "Don't pet the lion". It means no matter how nice a tumor looks. How small it is. How perfect the margins may be. It's still a tumor and it's still dangerous and it can bite.

We all have heard the warnings and we've ignored them. We push our luck. We roll the dice. We play with fire. It's human nature when we've been told not to touch something we usually do, even if we know better. May be because deep down we are just asking for trouble.

Every little kid knows the words to the song. "The foot bone is connected to the leg bone. The leg bone is connected to the knee bone. In med school you learn it's a bitter more complicated than that, but still the song not wrong. Everything is connected. "The foot bone is connected to the leg bone, the leg bone is connected to the knee bone. And if you take one piece out, the rest just falls apart.

The human body is made of systems that keep it alive. There's the one that keeps you breathing and the one that keeps you standing. The one that makes you hungry and the one that makes you happy. They are all connected, take that piece out and everything else falls apart. And it's only when our support system look like they might fail us, that we realize how much we've depended on all along.

When you are a kid you always want things to stay the same. The same teachers, the same house, the same friends... Being a surgeon is no different. You get used to the same attending, the same scrub nurses, the same hospital. Of course that all changes the minute fifth year comes around and you have to find a new job.

It's one of those things people say. You can move on until you let go of with the past. Letting go is the easy part, it's the moving on that's painful. So sometimes we fight it, trying to keep things the same. Things can't stay the same though. At some point you just have to let it go. Move on. Because no matter how painful it is. It's the only way we grow.

Picture this, you've spent the past five years of your residency training to become a surgeon. But those five years, suddenly don't matter. The only thing that matters, the only thing between you and your career is a test. In a random hotel, in a random place with a random examiner asking you random questions. Nervous? You should be.

Kindergarten. High school. College. Med School. Residency. That all leads to this moment. Some people can crack under the pressure others thrive. Either way there's nothing left to do. No more studying no more preparing. Like it or not the moment has arrived. The only thing left you to do is show up.

Carpe diem. How annoying is carpe diem? How are you supposed to plan a life? A career? A family? If you're always "carpe"-ing the "diem"? If we all seized every moment of every day, there wouldn't be doctors. Who'd sit through med school? We'd all be too busy living in the now, whatever that means.



I'll admit the Romans had a point. You gotta to live life. And living means that every morning when you wake up you have to chose between seizing what life offers in the moment and forging ahead, no matter the weather or closing the curtains and shutting out the day.

So there is this bird, some sort of swallow I think. Every September thousand of them ditch rainy Seattle to winter in Mexico. These birds aren't dumb. And every year crowds of people gather around to drink beer and watch the flocks take off. They call it the Great Migration.

I don't know how those birds do it. Travel thousand of miles without getting lost. Banging into windows, being eaten by cats. But every spring they are always here. I guess they come back to what they know. People say it's pretty cool watching them go. They say you can actually see the moment when at some mysterious signal, all at once, the birds decide to leave. So maybe I've been missing out. Whatever. There's always next year.

The years we spend as surgical residents will be the best and worst of our lives. We will be pushed to our breaking point. This is the starting line. This is our arena. How well we play? That's up to us.

Season 9 ~Meredith Grey narrations




Dying changes everything. There’s the emotional fallout, sure. But there’s also the practical stuff. Who’s going to do your job? Who’s going to take care of your family? The only good thing for you is you don’t have to worry about it. People you never knew will be living in your house, working your job. The world just keeps on going… without you.


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.

I had this memory game when I was a kid. A bunch of cards faced down in rows. Each card has a picture. You turn one over, look at it, then turn it back over. Then you have to try to remember where its matching card was. Sometimes you have no idea, and other times you chose exactly what you need to see. The cards seem completely out of order and random but you keep turning them over and the more cards you see.. you get the sense of how everything fits together.

You were right, about all of it. You were right. This is a place where horrible things happen. You were right to go - you're probably escaping disaster. Look at me, I practically grew up here. And you're right, it's hurt me in ways I'll probably never get over. I have a lot of memories of people, people I've lost forever, but I have a lot of other memories too. This is the place where I fell in love. The place where I found my family. This is where I learned to be a doctor, where I learned to take responsibility for someone else's life. And it's the place I met you so I figure this place has given me as much as it has taken from me. I've lived here as much as I've survived here, it just depends on how I look at it. I'm gonna choose to look at it that way and remember you that way.

Surgeons don't compromise. We defy death, we exceed perfection. We operate for seventeen hours straight if we have to. We aren't built to settle, but that doesn't mean we won't.

When we follow our hearts, when we choose not to settle, it's funny. Isn't it? A weight lifts, the sun shines a little brighter, and for a brief moment, we find a little peace.

The clothes a surgeon wears help to present an image. The lab coats and badges and scrubs all work together to indicate a person of authority, someone you can trust. When the clothes come off, that's a different story. We're sensitive, lonely, human.

It might be hard for a surgeon to admit, but there's no shame in simply being human. It can be a relief to stop hiding, to accept who you really are. A little self awareness never hurt anyone. Because when you know who you are, it's easier to know what you're about, what you really need.

Sometimes, things are simply out of your control. You can't change them. You can't bend them to your will. It doesn't matter if you're already forty-five minutes late, your hair isn't brushed, you haven't fixed breakfast and you're hemorrhaging brain cells by the second while you sit here. Dying, dying inside.

Doctors have never had all the answers. There was a time when you were sick, we'd just drain your blood like you were getting an oil change. We're constantly having to rethink what we thought was true and redefine it.

It can be scary to find out you've been wrong about something but we can't be afraid to change our minds, to accept that things are different, that they'll never be the same, for better or for worse. We have to be willing to give up what we used to believe. The more we're willing to accept what is and not what we thought, we'll find ourselves exactly where we belong.

Can two people really be meant to be? MFEO. Soul mates. It would be nice if it's true. That we all have someone out there waiting for us. Us waiting for them. I'm just not sure I believe it.

Maybe I do believe it, all this "meant to be" stuff. Why not believe it, really? Who doesn't want more romance in their life? Maybe it's just up to us to make it happen. To show up and be meant for each other. At least that way you'll find out for sure. If you're meant to be or not.

Most people hate hospitals. But not the interns. For them, a hospital is a magical place. It's poetic, the rhythm of the machines, the crackle on the trauma gown, it's a place full of promise, excitement, surprises. It's a place where dreams can come true.

There don't have to be harps playing, or birds singing, or rose petals falling from the sky. And there are definitely days when the romance is dead… but if you look around, things are pretty amazing. So stop for a second, enjoy the beauty, feel the magic, drink it in because it won't last forever. The romance will fade, things will happen, people will change, love will die but maybe not today.

The adrenal system reacts to stress by releasing hormones that make us alert and reactive. The problem is, the adrenal system can't tell what's a regular case of nerves, and what's real impending disaster.

The body doesn't know the difference between nerves and excitement, panic and doubt, the beginning and the end. The body just tells you to get the hell out. Sometimes you ignore it… That's the reasonable thing to do. But sometimes you listen; you're supposed to trust your gut. Right? When the body says run… Run!

In order to properly treat a problem, a surgeon needs as much information as she can get. So we ask questions. Things like when did the pain begin? Have you experienced these symptoms before? Do you have a family history? Are you currently sexually active? Have you recently undergone surgery? If you’re unwilling or unable to answer these and other questions, we’re forced to rely on tests for insight. Until those test results come back, there’s nothing we can do but wait.

The next time you’re in your doctor's office, remember she’s not asking all those questions for her health. She’s asking them for yours. Tell her everything. The small details aren’t trivial. They actually make the story. There’s no rush, take all the time you need, start at the beginning.

The big day is here. The day you’re gonna hear the news, the test result. Is the biopsy malignant or benign? Am I gonna live or die? You just want to know even if the news is scary because then you can move on. Whatever that means.

They say ignorance is bliss because once you know about the tumor or the prognosis, you can’t go back. Will you be strong or will you fall apart? It’s hard to predict so don’t worry about it. Enjoy the time you have before the news comes. Yep, ignorance is bliss.

Patients who undergo an amputation often feel a sensation where the missing limb was as if it’s still there. The syndrome is called phantom limb. It’s as if the body can’t accept that a terrible trauma has occurred. The mind is trying to make the body complete again. Patients who experience phantom limb report many different sensations but by far the most common is pain.

The body can be stubborn when it comes to accepting change. The mind holds out hope that the body can be whole again and the mind will always fight for hope, tooth and nail. Until it finds a way of understanding its new reality and accepts that what is gone is gone forever.

We’ve all heard the buzz words, streamline, optimize integrate, adapt. Every day someone comes up with a new strategy or tool or technology to increase our efficiency. The idea is to make our lives easier but the question is, does it?

To really be efficient, you have to eliminate what doesn’t work. You have to figure out what is important and hold on tight to the things that matter most.

They say there's one sure sign of a successful negotiation. It's that when the parties leave the table, they both feel like they've been screwed. The goal is a compromise. A situation where everybody wins.

They say that negotiation is an art form. Yet, when we negotiate, we have a strategy, we use tactics. Strategies and tactics aren't words we use for seeking a compromise. These are words for going to war.

There is a procedure to treat epilepsy that involves surgically severing the connection between the left and right brain. The goal is to block signals that cause seizures. The problem is this also cuts off the brain's ability to communicate with itself. The left side has no idea what the right side is up to. A patient may experience problems with coordination, memory, speech. It's a drastic solution that's only considered when all other options have failed because once a surgeon makes that cut, there's no going back.

There's a reason surgeons are willing to roll the dice on a risky, go-for-broke, point-of-no-return surgery with potentially devastating consequences. Sometimes, it works.

To a critically ill patients, an organ transplant means a new start, a second chance. But the body is designed to fight off any outside invader, even the one that is trying to save it. Because the transplant doesn’t guarantee that’s an easier life, there’s the threat that the body will reject the organ outright.

The transplant process is very scary. The patient goes from worrying about getting an organ, to worrying if the organ will be rejected. The anxiety continues, until they can finally open their eyes after surgery, and see that their gift has been accepted.

Work keeps our minds active, it keeps us out of trouble. When we're not working, our hands are idle and the devil will find work for idle hands to do. And when you have an idle mind, well, that's the devil's playground too.

At first, idleness can seem like a welcome distraction. The trouble making and the fun. Everyone needs some idle time to focus on something other than work, even if it means focusing on something that's a little bit scary. Stepping back from work is the only way to change perspective. And it's only after we had everything in perspective that we remember where our hands truly belong.

Let's say you're standing in an OR, staring at an aneurysm that's embedded deep into a patient's frontal lobe. There are three things you'll need to remove it. You'll need confidence, you'll need an eleven blade and some really good instincts.

There are some feelings that refuse to go away, they're little distractions whispering in your ear. Some things just get under your skin. Try as you might, you can't ignore your instincts. It's like they say, always follow your intuitions.

Patients say it all the time, "Tell me straight up, I just want to know what's going on. Tell me, I can handle it." We don't dodge your questions because we're mean. We do it because when you say you want the truth, you have no idea what you are talking about.

They say the truth will set you free. What the hell do they know? The truth is horrible, frightening. The truth is more than you can bear. We're supposed to be straight with you, so be careful what you ask for when you walk into a hospital because when you find out what's really going on, you may never recover.

There's no such thing as magic, as far as we know. And while as surgeons, we study the secrets behind the human body's intricate network of cells, tissues and organs. When things go wrong, horribly, horribly wrong, there are only so many tricks we have up our sleeves to put a body back together. But there is a kind of power, more of a spell really, and when we get it right, it can be pretty damn magical.

As surgeons we are no stranger to the breaks and tears in the human body, in fact we sacrifice the better part of our twenties learning every possible way to make it a whole again. But there are some wounds a surgeon can't repair. Not on their own. It takes a kind of power we just don't have. There's no such thing as magic, not in the traditional 'abracadabra, genie in a bottle' kind of way. But there is magic in knowing that while not everything can be repaired, most everything can be survived.

They hit you out of nowhere. When bad things come, they come suddenly, without warning. We rarely get to see the catastrophe coming, no matter how well we try to prepare for it.

We do our very best, but sometimes it's just not good enough. We buckle our seat belts, we wear a helmet, we stick to the lighted paths, we try to be safe. We try so hard to protect ourselves, but it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. Cause when the bad things come, they come out of nowhere. The bad things come suddenly, with no warning. But we forget that sometimes that's how the good things come too.

I had this bad ass professor in med school. She seemed invincible. Then, one day, she needed her gall bladder out and the surgery killed her. Her platelets stopped clotting, she bled out on the table. Everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. Surgeons have a name for it. We call it a perfect storm. Funny, never thought it would happen to me.

There's an end to every storm. Once all the trees have been uprooted. Once all the houses have been ripped apart. The wind will hush, the clouds will part, the rain will stop, the sky will clear in an instant. But only then, in those quiet moments after the storm, do we learn who was strong enough to survive it.

Season 10 ~Meredith Grey narrations


There's this playground game that kids play. They lock hands and on the count of three they try to snap their fingers off. You hold on as long as you can, or at least longer than the other guy. The game doesn't end until someone says stop, gives up, cries mercy. It isn't a fun game.

n the game of mercy, when one kid cries out, the other one listens and the pain stops. Don't you wish it was that easy now? That's not a game anymore, and we're not kids. You can cry mercy all you want but nobody's listening. It's just you screaming into a void.

As anyone who's ever had their tonsils out can tell you, surgery isn't cheap. It takes a lot of money to keep the hospital's doors open. And when the funds run out, it's on us to get out there and raise some more. Which means it's time to put on make up. It's time to dress up right. It's time to get things started on the Muppet Show... Crap, sorry. I've been watching a lot of children television lately. But you get the idea.

Overture. Curtain. Lights. This is it. The night of nights. No more rehearsing and nursing a part. We know every part by heart. Tonight, what heights we'll hit. On with the show. This is it.

Here's what I learned my first day at medical school. Think long and hard before choosing to become a surgeon. It takes 100% commitment. You have to be on your A game every single time you walk into that OR. When patients are lying on your table, completely at your mercy, they need to know that when you make that first cut you know what you're doing. No other specialty requires the time, the focus, the complete dedication... Except maybe being a mom.

What if your focus splits? What if you can't be all in? Are you left with nothing at all? Maybe you just need to find a different path. Here's what's horrifying, what if you can't give 100%? Maybe you just need to go back to the beginning and start all over again.

Every Halloween we make a choice about what kind of costume we are going to wear. Something sexy, maybe you'll be someone scary. Or you could be a superhero which is what I'm trying to be this year.

Halloween is not for the faint of heart, there's a surprise around every corner. Some of the surprises are good and some of the surprises are bad. What's important is you can't let the fear of the surprise stop you from getting dressed up and wandering up to a stranger's house to ask the question, "So what'll it be? Trick? Or Treat?".

Glioma, fibroma, blastoma. Whatever the tumor, people assume you approach it the same way. You find its hiding place in the body and open the patient up and you cut it the hell out. But you're not just fighting the one tumor, you're actually at war with over a billion cells.

So, how do you beat the odds when it's one against a billion? You stand strong, keep pushing yourself past all rational limits and never let yourself give up. But the truth of the matter is, despite how hard you try and fight to stay in control, when it's all said and done, sometimes you're just outnumbered.

The body is an infinitely complex mass of interacting systems. People like to think doctors see it all clearly. But it's not always obvious what's a hiccup in the system and what's full on medical disaster. We figure that out in our first year of residency. We spend the rest of our careers lying about it.

It's just a cold. Muscle through it. It'll pass. Nothing's really wrong. We're doctors, we'd know if something was wrong. We'll be fine. Nothing's wrong.

Every doctor has a dirty little secret. We're all competitive science geeks. In grade school, we made the biggest and best volcanoes, which erupted actual fake molten lava. In junior high, we spent hours laboring over our rat mazes. So that one day, we'd be the person who changed the face of medicine forever.

Sometimes, the key to making progress is to recognize how to take that very first step. Then you start your journey. You hope for the best and you stick with it, day in, day out. Even if you're tired, even if you want to walk away, you don't. Because you are a pioneer. But nobody ever said it'd be easy.

Failure is an inevitability. Every scientist was told ”No” over and over. The ones we remember the ones who changed our lives. The Curies, the Salks, the Barnards… They are the ones who wouldn’t take “No” for an answer.

Failure is inevitable, Unavoidable. But failure should never get the last word. You have to hold on to what you want. You have to not take “No” for an answer, and take what’s coming to you. Never give in. Never give up. Stand up. Stand up and take it.

Every day, a surgeon makes decisions that can go one of two ways, Either very good or very, very, very bad. The problem is, the epically great decisions and the epically bad ones look exactly the same when you’re making them.

Looking back it's easy to see when a mistake has been made. But if we use our best judgement and listen to our hearts we're more likely to see that we chose wisely and avoid the deepest most painful regret of them all, the regret that comes from letting something amazing pass you by.


Cancer is a biological bully, always picking a fight, and it’ll sneak up on you. It’ll wait until the body feels safe, until it feels healthy and strong. That’s when cancer will move on in and get bigger and bigger. The body never even sees it coming, because cancer is the master of surprises.

You can try to hide from a bully, but hiding won’t work for long. You have to fight back. And if you’re lucky enough to get out alive before you put your guard back up, ready to fight the next one.

You know your tailbone? It used to be a tail. That pink part in the corner of your eye? It used to be a third eyelid. The appendix used to help us digest tough foods. Now it does nothing. The story of our evolution is the story of what we leave behind, what we’re discarded. Our bodies only hang on to the things we absolutely need. The things we no longer have use for, we give up, we let go.

Why does it feel so good to get rid of things? To unload, to let go. Maybe because when we see how little we actually need to survive, it makes us realize how powerful we actually are to strip down to only what we need, to hang on to only what we can't do without, not just to survive, but to thrive.

There’s a stage you go through in childbirth and it’s the toughest part. It’s called the transition stage. You’ve been pushing so hard and so long. You’re exhausted, spent and there’s nothing to show for all of your effort. During this transition stage, it feels like you can’t go on but it’s because you’re very nearly there.

Transition is movement from one part of a life to a whole new one. And it can feel like one long, scary, dark tunnel. But you have to come out the other side. Because what’s been waiting there, might be glorious.

The average person touches their face about eighteen times every waking hour. That leaves you susceptible to infection about one hundred times a day. Infection has a nasty habit of taking advantage of our everyday behaviors. It spreads by touching doors, desks, elevator buttons, pens, sharing cups, even money. All we can do is try our best to prevent it from spreading because once it's out there, the infection usually wins.

It's a known fact that doctors make the worst patients. We ignore our symptoms until we're face down on the ground. We like to think we're a different species to our patients but none of us are invincible. Eventually we have to face the fact that we're human and that, sometimes, even the mightiest of us need help.

My Mom didn't think she would win, she thought it was a popularity contest, and she wasn't popular. She was a woman and a fellow, and her arrogance could rub people the wrong way. She hadn't allowed herself to imagine the possibility of winning, because she wanted it too much. And when they called my mom's name, she was genuinely shocked. It was validation of all her hard work and sacrifice. She came home and told me she didn't win the Harper Avery. She earned it.

Surgery is a solo act. We step up at the table with a scalpel in our hands and we go it alone. The isolation can start to define you. Because even though you are surrounded by teams... what it really comes down to is your training, your choices, your wits.. your hands, your stitch.

Over the past 20 years, one of the most valuable tools a doctor has is the algorithm. Your patient's main complaint goes into a box...and then the formula helps you decide what to do next. But what happens when a problem doesn't fix into a box? Well...you are suddenly on your own, unexpectedly, with about a thousand paths to choose from.

So, what do you do? How do you decide when you're left in the dark? How do you make sure you are not making the worst mistake in somebody's life? You close your eyes...you block out everyone and everything around you, and pray the voice inside you is right. Because once you decided...you can't ever go back.

Sometimes you just need to get out of town. Get a new perspective. but you can't always see that you need a new perspective because you, well need a new perspective to see that. It's complicated.

Open your eyes, what do you see? More possibilities? Does your new view give you more hope? That's the goal, although it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes a shift in perspective just makes you see what you've lost.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Emergency rooms are kept in business by people who've learned that lesson the hard way. Skydivers, bull riders, people whose bold ideas often result in broken bones and smushed spleens. Surgeons are trained to deal with the fallout of the bold ideas, we pick up the pieces and do our best to fit them back together.

The thing about the bold moves, they're terrifying. Could end in nothing but tears and broken bones. And that's exactly what makes them so damned exciting.





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