For those of us who still watch “Grey’s Anatomy” (SPOILER ALERT) we saw Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang say goodbye to each other in the season finale, as Cristina left Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital to go to Switzerland. The relationship Meredith and Cristina have is different than most female friendships that we see on television. As this piece in Entertainment Weekly so eloquently says, Meredith and Cristina are much more then friends. They were each other’s “person”–soulmates, if you will.
We are big believers in soulmates, but not in the “one person for one person, let’s get married and be together forever” way. We believe each person can have many soulmates, and they don’t necessarily have to be romantic. In our minds, a soulmate is someone who we can share both sad and hilarious moments with comfortably. A soulmate supports us when we are right and tells us point-blank when we are wrong; a soulmate is someone who understands us, challenges us, and doesn’t put up with our bullshit. Our soulmates can come in the form of people we date, or they can come in the form of the greatest of friends. In either case, they are people who understand us so deeply, they often know what we think and feel before we do.
As Meredith and Cristina said goodbye, a similar scene played out on college campuses across the country when seniors graduated and went their separate ways. Friends parted and started heading to different cities, onto whatever postgraduate adventures await them. For those of us who found a “person” during our college years, this is a scary time–it’s entirely possible that you and your soulmate may not wind up in the same place. You ask yourself, “After four years together, how will I function day-to-day without the one person who understands me better than anyone? How can I possibly deal with postgrad life without my partner in crime?” We make promises to text, to call, to visit; sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t. Regardless, the relationship inevitably changes.
But here’s the thing that you discover as you get a little bit older: who we need our “person” to be changes as we change. Many awesome things happen after graduating from college (and, if we’re honest, some shitty things, too). Those things change us, in both subtle and important ways. Who we are and what we need isn’t the same at 22 as it is when we are 27, and our “person,” the one other human being who understands in such a fundamental way it’s scary, has to change along with us. Sometimes it stays the same person and we evolve and grow together, which is amazing. But sometimes it becomes a new person, one who matches who we are now, and our former person becomes “just” a very good friend, or perhaps even fades out of our life completely–and that’s okay, because we’re better for having known them.
We aren’t sure what will happen with Meredith and Cristina. Maybe their twisted sisterhood will survive the miles, fed by texts and FaceTime. Or maybe it will slowly fade away, unable to withstand the distance between them. We suppose it depends on whether Sandra Oh agrees to return for cameos. Either way, in the real world, the time will almost always come that we have to say goodbye to one of our soulmates, usually because we simply aren’t in the same place–metaphorically or physically speaking–anymore. It’s one of the hard things that happens as we get older, but no matter why you have to say goodbye, just be sure to dance it out.