All these years later, and Meredith Grey is still taking Cristina Yang’s advice to heart. The surgeon left behind the hunky Nick Marsh for a new job in Boston on the Thursday, February 23, episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Many seasons ago, Cristina (Sandra Oh) told her BFF Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), “he is not the sun, you are,” in a heartfelt moment. So, in the Grey’s Anatomy midseason 19 premiere — aptly titled “I’ll Follow the Sun” — Meredith said her goodbyes to friends and colleagues before one final moment with on-and-off love interest Nick (Scott Speedman).

“I want you in my life if you want to be in my life,” Meredith told Nick. “But if I have to choose, I’m going to pick me. I pick my kids, and I pick what’s best for us, and I’m not going to beg you to love me.”

Keep reading for all the details about Meredith’s departure. 

Why Did Meredith Grey Leave ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?

After Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) offered Meredith a job to research cure for Alzheimer’s at Catherine Fox Foundation in Boston, she took the job.

As for the actress, Ellen explained that when it came to work, she wanted to “mix it up” with some new projects.

“I’m 53. My brain is like scrambled eggs,” the longtime ABC star revealed on The Drew Barrymore Show in December 2022. “I gotta do something new or I’m literally gonna turn into like, you can’t do the New York Times crossword puzzle every single day. I mean, 19 years, that’s more than people keep their kids in their house, like people keep their kids in their house until they’re 18 and then they send them off to college. So this is like me like going away to college.”

A 'Grey's Anatomy' Farewell! Meredith Gray Says Goodbye to Seattle After Tearful Surprise Party

How Did Meredith Grey Leave ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?

Following a surprise party with all of her colleagues, Meredith had a candid conversation with Nick about leaving. After he let her go, the transplant surgeon realized that he wanted to be with Meredith.

“I love you,” he told her over the phone. “I fell in love with you the first day I met you, I fell in love with you the second day I met you, and I’ve loved you every minute of every day that I’ve known you.”

Meredith, who was already aboard the airplane, replied, “I can’t quite hear you. We are about to take off. I’ll call you when we get settled.”

Will Meredith Grey Return to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?

Ellen’s departure is less of a goodbye and more of a “see you later.” The actress is reported to return for the season 19 finale, per DeadlineHere’s to hoping for more from Meredith and Nick in the future.