All good things must come to an end.
While the news of Meredith Grey's upcoming exit has been official since the August announcement, a new Jan. 11 sneak peek of the mid-season premiere gives viewers their first look at one of her final episodes (Pompeo is also expected to appear in the season 19 finale later this spring).
"This is where I learned to be a doctor. This is the place where I found my family, the place where I fell in love," Pompeo's voiceover states in the ABC clip. "Sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is everything."
That sentiment is true for both the actress and the character, who have been with the show since its debut in 2005. Pompeo previously told Drew Barrymore her plans for life after Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital have everything to do with her family.
"I have a lot that I'm doing," the mother of three to Stella, 13, Sienna, 8, and Eli, 6, with husband Chris Ivery said on The Drew Barrymore Show in December. "I have three kids, so I take care of them. It's really important for me to be around for them and be more present for them."
While the Feb. 23 episode might be the start of Meredith's farewell, Pompeo herself has already been preparing for the end. She penned an emotional message to fans in November ahead of the show's winter hiatus.
"I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons," she wrote on Instagram. "Through it all...none of it...would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You all are RIDERS and you all have made the ride so fun and ICONIC!!"
Season 19 of Grey's also stars Chandra Wilson, James Pickens, Jr., Kevin McKidd, Caterina Scorsone, Camilla Luddington, Kelly McCreary, Kim Raver, Jake Borelli, Chris Carmack, Anthony Hill, Alexis Floyd, Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Midori Francis, Niko Terho and Scott Speedman.
Watch as Grey's Anatomy bids farewell to Meredith Grey and Ellen Pompeo when it returns Feb. 23 on ABC.