Grey’s Anatomy – Be Still, My Soul
By: Krista Freego
Disclaimer: You are going to want tissues at the ready for this one. Seriously, get tissues, get them now. I will wait. Okay you have your tissues, let us begin…
The episode opens with a voice over from Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) talking about a note she found after her mother’s Alzheimer had gotten bad. Meredith found a note while going through her mother’s bills. The note said “Important. Tell Meredith Not To….” Meredith’s mother never finished the sentence. Meredith then went through a litany of choices of what could have been the rest of the note. To be honest, while watching the episode I did the same thing. The type-A in me could not live with an unfinished sentence or an unfinished life.
Meredith regrets that she didn’t talk more with her Mother and wishes that she had. (Side note: as a devote fan of the show since the pilot, it is such a treasure that Meredith in Season Thirteen), be it in voiceover or just in regular conversation, now seems to more freely talk about her mother and the regret she has associated with not being closer to her, not knowing her better.)
Clearly, everything going on with Maggie’s (Kelly McCreary) mother Diane (LaTanya Richardson Jackson) is causing Meredith to reflect on her relationship with her own mother.
By now we have found out that Diane has Inflammatory Breast Cancer. As Jackson (Jesse Williams) explains, it has spread. The real focus of this episode is Maggie and how she deals with what would be any daughter’s worst nightmare, losing her mother. Kelly McCreary’s performance is beautiful, graceful, subtle, honest, genuine and nothing short of perfect and heart breaking.
Less than a year ago, I watched my Granny (the only grandparent I have ever had and one of my closest friends) die in a hospital room. I went through the same emotions as Maggie. At first I was in denial, thinking everything could be solved. That there would be a cure, an easy fix, that this was not going to be how my Granny’s story ended. I refused to give up. I thought I was being strong, when in actuality I was just scared. More scared then I have ever been in my life. I was fighting so hard, because I couldn’t even begin to accept life without her. So many friends and family members told me to stop fighting and to spend time with her. Stop researching, just stop and instead to sit down and hold her hand and just be present in the moment with her. Incredibly sage advice that I took too long to hear. Enough about me, back to Grey’s…
Upon hearing news that the Cancer has spread, Maggie automatically wants more surgery, which all the other doctors are against. In one scene, Jackson, Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Webber (James Pickens Jr.) pretty much do a game of one two three not it, in order to decide who should tell Maggie that the clinical trial Maggie wants is not the best approach to Diane’s medical care. Webber draws the short straw and informs Diane about the truths of the clinical trial Maggie wants her to start.
There are so many amazing scenes in this episode directed by none other than Ellen Pompeo. One of my favorite is in the beginning of the episode where Maggie is walking through the chemo ward of the hospital and it is as if she is seeing it truly for the first time, because this time she is seeing it through the eyes of a family member of someone who has cancer and not as a doctor. This time her heart fully realizes all of the truths that this room holds. She never says anything, as she is walking through the room and looking at her mother, but someone Kelly McCreary is able to express all this and more in her eyes and her face and as soon as I saw that, I completely understood everything she was going through, because I had been through it too.
I truly cannot say enough about Kelly McCreary in this episode. Words cannot convey the beauty and grace that she brings to Maggie. LaTanya Richardson Jackson’s performance in this episode was also spectacular. Truly a masterpiece.
In the midst of all the sorrow and grace, we are provided with this week’s answer to the will they won’t they of Meredith and Riggs (Martin Henderson), that answer: Not right now. Once again, timing just is not right for the two. My own personal thoughts – you cannot always rely on timing. Sometimes, if you want something badly enough, you have to make your own timing.
Now a new met is found on her liver. Which causes yet another argument between Meredith and Maggie. Maggie uses the lack of closeness between Meredith and her own mother as a reason to discredit Meredith’s medical advice and ultimately, Meredith is fired as one of Diane’s doctors. In competition for one of the harshest comments is Maggie’s to Meredith: “You don’t get it. You wouldn’t. Meredith, I love my mother enough not to say ‘screw it’ and throw her down a damn drain’”.
Next, we get a montage of all of the trials and tribulations of the side effects of the clinical trial, which it appears poor Diane gets each and every one. According to Meredith “this treatment is killing her faster than the cancer.”
In another one of my favorite scenes, Diane is insistent on teaching Maggie how to make her lasagna. Right away Maggie realizes that her mother is trying to pass down her secrets to her, succumbing to the reality that she is not going to survive this cancer. Of course, Diane says that is not the case and that she just wants someone else to know how to make it so that she can rest and put her feet up. Maggie appears to relent and makes the whole meal from scratch, including the noodles which she brags to her friends about upon their arrival.
Next is a heartwarming family style dinner of a majority of our favorite doctors coming together to support both Maggie and Diane. But the joy and laughter shared over the fact that Meredith flushed her mother’s ashes down the sink of her favorite OR is short lived as Diane has to be rushed to the hospital and the rest of the episode is somber and completely heart wrenching. Diane appears to have infinite wisdom. Diane does not appear to be afraid. Diane’s main concern in this episode and really all episodes is her daughter, Maggie. Diane confesses to Webber that “when I die she (Maggie) needs to know that she did everything that she could.”
Meredith’s advice to Maggie is perfect: “You’re never ready. You just…do it. Listen to her. Talk about whatever she wants to talk about and record her voice in your mind. You memorize everything.” I wonder if this is what Meredith did when her mother was dying, or merely looking back on things now, what she wishes she had done?
In their final scene together, Diane imparts the following wisdom to Maggie:
“Orgasms, they are not a gift. It is your right…at least once a day.”
“You are too intense, have some fun.”
“Be a little lazy or a little slutty. Make a mistake.”
“You are never gonna look back and say ‘I wish I had been more uptight’.”
“Stop always saying what everyone wants to hear. Tell someone off.”
“I want you to fall in love. It has to be someone who is worthy.”
“Never make yourself small for anyone. Be your own person. And try wearing some lipstick.”
And just like that…she was gone, but Diane will always be in our hearts. Our final scene is of the three sisters, sitting together eating leftover lasagna and in the final voiceover of Meredith for the episode:
“I think about my mom’s note all the time. Tell Meredith no to…not to cave…not to care…not to give up so easily…not to fall in love…not to have children…not to tell a lie. She left me wondering… what to do, what not to do. She left me knowing everything was up to me…and me alone… and she left me with no one to ask. So, I would decide what she meant to write. Tell Meredith not to be afraid… Goodbye Mom.”
Best line: You are never gonna look back and say ‘I wish I had been more uptight.”
Saddest Moment: So many to choose from. When Diane passed and Maggie continued to paint her nails.
Special Hugs go out to: Diane, Maggie and Meredith.
Bright Point: Webber has forgiven Bailey because time is too short to hold grudges and he doesn’t want Bailey to live with the regret and pain of never being forgiven by someone that she loves.