Last season, April Kepner sadly left Grey’s Anatomy for good. She was a fan favorite and has been missed on Season 15 ever since. And in a new interview, the actress who played her, Sarah Drew, was super nostalgic about the beloved character on the medical drama series.

“She’s part of me and she’ll always be part of me, you know? She’s lived kind of inside [my] skin for nine months of the year for nine years, so yeah, she does feel like part of me,” the 38-year-old told Us Weekly. “But I really do feel like I got to say goodbye to her in a really healthy way. I feel like I’m onto the next. I feel like it was a beautiful season of my life and I’m so thankful for it in very way and I’m just excited about the future now.”

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Sarah confirmed her departure from the hit show — it’s been on since 2005 — earlier this year. “Thank you for all of the love,” Sarah wrote on Twitter at the time. “I know you’re sad. I’m sad too. I haven’t really had the time to process this information. I’ve been with it for less than 48 hours, so I’m not ready to say my thank yous and give an all-encompassing statement about my nine years here.”

She continued, “That will come later. For now, I’d like to say: I love you. And I love April, and her story isn’t over yet. And the really good news (for me, at least) is that I’m here on set shadowing one of my favorite people, Kevin McKidd, with my beloved Grey’s family all this week and next, so I get to process all of my feelings surrounded by the community that has nourished and nurtured me for almost a decade. For that, I am so grateful.” Luckily for fans, April wasn’t killed off the show like, you know, every other cast member we’ve ever loved.

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