By Jacque Reid
I’ve watched the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy twice, so far, since it aired on Thursday. I’m certain I cried more the second time than the first. That’s because after 10 seasons, we said goodbye to original character Dr. Cristina Yang. In typical Grey’s fashion, there was plenty of suspenseful medical moments… but nothing overshadowed Cristina’s touching final interactions with her colleagues and friends. What made her exit so perfect for me, were the final words of advice she shared with her BFF, Dr. Meredith Grey. “You are a gifted surgeon, with an extraordinary mind… don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He is very dreamy, but he is not the sun… you are”.
Those words took my breath away. It made me think of all the women who sacrifice so much to support their men’s hopes and dreams. I have been there. Most of us have. That’s why I loved Cristina Yang so much. From the very beginning as a young resident, her dream was to become one of the best surgeons in the world. She did exactly that, never losing focus. But her personal life suffered because of it. She was left at the alter many seasons ago, by a fellow doctor who realized their matched dedication to their professions made them a mismatch as a couple. She did finally marry another doctor, who really wanted children. Despite her deep love for him, she knew that she did not want to be a mother. She understood that the characteristics that made her a successful surgeon would make her a terrible mother. So she and her husband parted ways.
Meredith’s husband is a top neurosurgeon who just landed a dream job with the White House. He plans to move Meridith and their two kids from Seattle to DC. While Meredith and Cristina entered together as medical residents, Meredith’s career was sidetracked from time to time with pregnancy and motherhood. It was something that caused a rift in their friendship for a minute, but they got past it. Meredith loves motherhood and her husband, but she has spent much of this season trying to get her career as a doctor back on track. And it’s been working. But now her husband wants her to pack up and continue her work in DC. In this final episode we see Meredith struggling with having to make this move, but she is going along to make her husband happy. That is until Cristina drops the “he’s not the sun, you are” line.
That causes Meredith to rethink her decision and inform her husband that she does not want to move. And we are left with a cliffhanger of how this couple will survive this hurdle. Cristina’s final words to Meridith is advice that many of us would be reluctant to give a girlfriend in the same shoes. But Cristina and Meredith’s friendship has been a key storyline in the Grey’s series. The uniquely strong level of support, affection, respect, compatibility and honesty the two shared is why many refer to them as one of the best female duos on television. I love that Cristina wasn’t afraid that Meredith might get angry with her for what she said. Instead she gave her friend the words she needed to hear.. that it is okay to put yourself first… even when you are married. And I really appreciated that Meredith didn’t just dismiss her friend’s advice, just because that friend is Single.
What I value most about Cristina’s character from the very beginning to her final moments in season 10, is that she personifies what all women should embrace sooner rather than later… that we must know who we are and what we want out of life. Without that, we will succumb to pressure from society to think our lives are meaningless without husbands and children. We will wrongly believe that we are supposed to sacrifice our dreams for the sake of having a family. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a family. But there is nothing wrong or selfish about choosing to live out your dream and wait for the man that fits that story. Will Cristina ever find that man? We don’t know. In the end, Cristina left behind Seattle Grey Hospital and a relationship with a man who loves her, to take a dream job running a research facility in Zurich. We see that as a Single woman she is fulfilled. She knows that she is the sun.