Poor, neglected, weird Mousey was electrocuted after she saw Richard laying on the ground unconscious, but when she tried to save him, she stepped into the same puddle he was in, and down she went. It was a stupid mistake, though her heart was in the right place. Then her death caused Shane to go crazy, blaming himself, ultimately killing Alex's dad during surgery because of his sleep deprivation. Yikes.
Tear count: Sorry Heather, our eyes were dry.
Reed may not have been a likeable character (she was actually the least likeable Mercy Wester) but she was one of the most shocking deaths on this show because all of a sudden, grieving widower Gary Clark pulled that gun out of nowhere. With one shot to the head, Reed kicked off the hospital shooting arc that left us scarred to this very day.
Tear count: No tears for this specific death, both because we didn't care about Reed and we were too shocked to fully process it.
Don't even get us started on how sad that long, drawn-out goodbye was. Watching George go through that kind of pain was torture. Plus, it caused him to hastily decide to get married to Callie, and that's a storyline we still would like to forget, all these years later. But at least it did give us that amazing bonding moment between George and Cristina that was long overdue.
Tear count: Several for poor George.
Ellis' death was a long time coming, since her Alzheimers meant Meredith lost her mother years earlier. But when she finally did journey into the afterlife, she finally gave Meredith the closure she needed: "You are anything but ordinary."
Tear count: a single tear, conjured out of relief that Meredith got the goodbye she deserved from her mother.
Pink mist. Never forget.
Tear count: We weren't really crying for Bomb Squad Guy as much as we were crying just in general because this was a very tense episode.
April and Jackson's baby was induced early so the two first-time parents could hold their child for the few minutes it lived, as it suffered from Type 2 osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare bone disease. It was one of the saddest episodes of TV we've ever seen, but we could not be more impressed with how strong April and Jackson were in the face of the hardest choice they'll ever have to make.
Tear count: So, so many.
One of the saddest victims to die in the hospital shooting, because his death was avoidable. Although he was in pretty bad shape, Bailey could have saved him if she could only get him up to the OR. But when Bailey realized the SWAT team turned off the power to the elevators, and she wasn't going to be able to save his life after all, you could see the horror on her face, but she kept her calm in order to make Charles' final moments as peaceful as they could be.
Tear count: a few droplets, until Bailey was forced to tell Charles that yes, he was going to die, but it was all going to be okay. Then, total heaving sobs.
Although the chief lost his wife a long time before her actual death thanks to Alzheimer's and the fact that she fell in love with another man at her nursing home, her sudden death was still so heartbreaking. Bailey postponed her wedding to operate on Adele, only for her to die later that day...and yet Richard still showed up to Bailey's wedding to support his friend. That's true selfessness right there.
Tear count: A lot of sniffles that turned into full-fledged crying when Richard shook his head to Meredith, letting her know Adele didn't make it.
He may have only married Teddy for insurance reasons, but Henry and Teddy fell in love later, making his medical issues even more heartbreaking. They had only just begun their lives together when he needed emergency surgery, and Cristina failed to save him in the OR...without realizing who she was operating on. The moment Owen finally told her the patient she lost was none other than her mentor's husband? Chills. And then Owen didn't tell Teddy for the longest time because she was performing surgery of her own. Oof.
Tear count: Hiccup-ugly-crying.
Poor, poor Lexie. After pining for her ex Mark Sloan for the longest time, she finally got the guy...only after she got pinned down by the wreckage from a plane crash. As she was dying and coughing up blood, she and Mark professed their love for each other and planned out the rest of their lives together, knowing they would never see that come to fruition.
Tear count: steady streams of water running down our cheeks.
Oh McSteamy, Grey's Anatomy will never feature a better naked towel moment than yours. Mark was among the plane crash crew, and died from injuries he sustained from the crash. His death was sadder than Lexie's, because not only did he have to suffer through losing the love of his life in the most traumatic way possible, he also had to suffer through knowing he was about to die later in the hospital when he felt the "surge," and saying goodbye to his friends and daughter. RIP McSteamy.
Tear count: All these years later, we're still crying.
We will never forget the exact moment Meredith realized that John Doe was 007, aka George O'Malley, because that was the moment we suffered our very first heart attack brought on by a TV show. He may have left the show in the most awful, gutwrenching way (a bus dragged him for blocks, ugh), but at least he went out a chivalrous hero, jumping in front of the bus to save a woman he didn't even know.
Tear count: Ugly, heaving sobs that left us looking a total mess. We can feel 'em coming on again just thinking about it.
So McDreamy almost won the honors of the saddest Grey's Anatomy death (not sure we'll ever get over that emotional gut punch of an twist), but because he died and was mourned in a one-week span, it didn't feel as epic or soul-crushing as it could have been had the show given it the time it totoally deserved. It was so sudden, out of nowhere, and the show moved on so quickly—jumping ahead a year in time over the course of one episode—that we still don't feel as if it really happened. McDreamy isn't really dead, right?!
Tear count: Total dehydration, since we cried all the water in our bodies out.
DeLuca's death hit us like a truck for a lot of reasons. For one, it was drawn out over both Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy. Two, it had been many, many seasons since a main character died. Three, it happened as he finally caught the child kidnapper he'd been obsessing over for months, over the course of a brutal mental health journey. Three, it really seemed as if he had been saved at one point. Four, we got to watch him say goodbye to Meredith on her COVID-19 coma beach and then reunite with his mom as he passed away. Plus, unlike Derek, this death was not spoiled ahead of time by any magazines, so we were not prepared. We cried for days. We cried while talking to Gianniotti on the phone. We still cry occasionally, weeks later, when we remember that this death occurred. We are not OK!
Tear count: Gross, messy, embarrassing river of sobs.
Oh, Denny, you survived cut LVAD wires and a heart transplant, only to stroke out all alone in your hospital room after Izzie just agreed to marry you. *Sob!* This was the show's most heartbreaking, soul-crushing death, not only because the buildup and fallout from it was focused on for so long (as it deserved), but also because it happened during the early seasons, when the show was in its peak. This will go down as one of the most iconic deaths on a TV show…ever. We'll never get the image of Izzie in her pink ball gown, being lifted off Denny's lifeless body into Alex's arms, out of our heads.
Tear count: Niagara Falls has nothin' on us!