It’s safe to say that Grey’s Anatomy fans are still in shock over the news that Sarah Drew (who plays April Kepner) is exiting the series now that Season 14 is officially over. Viewers met the doctor when she began working at the now renamed Seattle Grace-Mercy West Hospital during Season 6. A once insecure (and semi annoying) surgical resident blossomed into a fierce trauma surgeon. So, why does a fan-favorite character like April Kepner have to leave the series?

Grey’s doesn’t have the best track record of giving their characters happy goodbyes. So, naturally fans were worried that the red-headed doc would be killed off similarly to say, Lexie Grey, Mark Sloan, or the 8325729 other docs Shonda Rhimes has killed while running the hit show — especially after the episode before the finale. However, she fortunately ended up making it out alive!

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During the series finale on Thursday, May 17, we learned that April quit her job as a trauma surgeon at Grey Sloan Memorial to work with the homeless after the accident that nearly left her dead. During her convo with ex-mother-in-law, Catherine Avery (played by Debbie Allen), she says she’ll still take her granddaughter Harriet to see her. At the end of the episode, she also married her ex-fiancé and new boyfriend Matthew Taylor! What a sweet way to bring her story full circle…

But things weren’t always easy before last night’s episode. During the episode titled “Cold as Ice” on Thursday, May 10, we saw Matt get taken into Grey Sloan Memorial on a stretcher. Just before he passed out, he asked if April was ok. This resulted in Kevin McKidd (who plays Owen Hunt) visiting the scene of the accident to find laying in the river down the hill seemingly dead. We then see her on a stretcher, followed by many of our favorite Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital doctors freaking out in the ER, and Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey) says “we’re not going to lose her.” Justin Chambers (played by Alex Karvev) then asks Meredith what’s wrong, and she immediately breaks down in tears. Jesse Williams (who plays April’s ex-husband, Jackson Avery) then storms into the OR and has a breakdown over April after he spent hours not knowing about her injuries and near death experience. And then, after April’s surgery and a lot of prayers from Jackson and the rest of the crew, she suddenly wakes up, and happily reunites with Matthew. What a way to freak us out, Shonda!

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After witnessing Matthew’s wife die during childbirth, April was on a downward spiral. She abandoned her Christian faith (a huge part of her character) and was spending her time sleeping and partying with the current batch of interns. Her recent questionable choices factored with the news that her character won’t return had fans thinking she might leave the show in a less-than-flattering light.

We’re so glad April’s latest dark storyline didn’t stop Shonda from writing her a happy ending though (we’re especially happy she survived the horrible accident). Her ex-husband, Jackson, has moved on with Maggie Pierce (played by Kelly McCreary) and now April is married again, so it’s time to really say goodbye to April for good. We’ll miss her!

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