Have We Really Seen The Last Of Derek On 'Grey's'?

If you're still sobbing over Thursday night's totally shocking TV death, you're not alone. I don't think anyone expected Derek Shepherd to really die on Grey's Anatomy , but during "How To Save a Life," that's exactly what happened. In a totally ironic twist, Derek died because, after getting into a car accident and eventually saving four other people's lives, he was taken to a hospital that, well, let's just say was no Grey Sloan Memorial. Since the hospital was totally unprepared to deal with the situation, no one ordered a CT scan and renowned neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd died of a brain injury. But that can't stop fans from wondering, could Patrick Dempsey somehow return to Grey's Anatomy ?

To clarify, I'm not asking if Derek will miraculously come back to life in next week's episode. It's clear from statements made by showrunner Shonda Rhimes, Dempsey himself, and ABC that Derek is dead, and the show will now focus on what comes in the wake of this enormous loss. There has also been no mention of plans to bring Dempsey back anytime soon. However, that doesn't necessarily mean we will never see him again.

All Grey's fans remember the Denny storyline, when Izzie Stevens was hallucinating her dead love due to a brain injury, which of course meant that actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan was able to return for these scenes. Now, I'm not saying Meredith will get a brain injury of her own and begin seeing Derek, but they had an epic love story, which lead to two children. I don't think anyone would be surprised if eventually, during a trying time, Meredith looked to the memory of her deceased husband for strength and encouragement. Can't you just see an upset Meredith, envisioning Derek standing next to her, reassuring her that everything will be OK?

Though all of the previously mentioned statements on Derek's death are hugely positive, nothing has been said about the chance of a return. But I wouldn't give up all hope yet. Grey's Anatomy needs to give us time to process this tragedy and get used to the idea of the show without one of its main characters. If Derek ever does return, I don't think it would for a while. We all need time to heal, but if the series ever does find a way to bring Dempsey back, even if just for a few moments, I'm sure all fans would welcome him with open arms.

Image: Kelsey McNeal/ABC