What 'Grey's' Can Learn From 'Downton Abbey'

Grey’s Anatomy fans were dealt a heavy, heavy blow with the death of Derek Shepherd, so imagine our combined surprise, relief, and sadness when Meredith gave birth to the couple’s third child at the end of last week’s episode. It’s wonderful that they had another child, but sad that their daughter won’t get to ever meet her father. This reminded me of a storyline on another popular primetime drama: When Matthew Crawley passed away in a car accident (natch) just after his and Lady Mary’s son, George, was born on Downton Abbey. Thinking about it, Meredith could learn a lot from Lady Mary when it comes to how to cope with a new baby and a deceased spouse.

When Matthew first died, Lady Mary wasn’t exactly the picture of serenity and grace. She was a little bit of a mess, or, at least, as much of a mess as Lady Mary could be. She is a lady, after all. But as the episodes progressed, she became a lot more sure of herself and stepped up to the plate in terms of running the family’s acreage, finding a suitor, and taking care of her son. Mary learned her lessons the hard way, so if Meredith could somehow find a time warp in order to watch Lady Mary’s struggles, she would be infinitely better off. Here are a few things that Meredith could do to emulate the newly widowed Lady Mary.

Take Time To Grieve

Matthew dies at the end of Downton Abbey Season 3 and when Season 4 picks up six months later, Lady Mary is barely functioning. She is usually pretty cold to everyone anyway, but even worse now that Matthew has died. In time, though, Mary turns a corner: She has taken her time to grieve, and one day, she takes off her black mourning shroud, attends the tenant’s luncheon, and gets ready to tackle the problems of the Downton estate.

Meredith also needs to take the time to grieve before she can fully begin to move on. You have to put on your own oxygen mask before anyone else’s, you know?

Focus On Your Kids

The affection that Lady Mary has for her son is always evident. The whole family dotes on George, making him feel loved and cared for.

In the wake of Derek’s passing, I hope Meredith is able to care for her children in a similar way, especially Zola, because she is old enough to remember her father and will probably ask for him.

Take Control

When Matthew died, he was in the midst of revitalizing all of Downton Abbey. After his death, all of his plans seemed to have been for naught — until Mary stepped in, that is. Though she really hadn’t worked before, Mary put her nose to the grindstone, enlisting Tom and learning everything she could about the new ways to run the estate. Though she may clash with her father on some issues, Mary funneled her grieving energy into something good.

Meredith could funnel her extra energy into her surgery — perhaps she should start her research up again?

Don't Worry About Entering A Serious Relationship

Lady Mary has had many a suitor, including in the wake of Tom’s death. She thought about marrying both Lord Gillingham and Mr. Blake for a while there, until she had a breakthrough. Lady Mary realized that she didn’t have to marry anybody if she wasn’t ready to. Mary marrying meant giving up a part of herself (and part of her estate) that she wasn’t ready to yet, so she told both chaps to hit the road.

Meredith should certainly date when she’s ready, but she shouldn't feel pressured to get married again anytime soon.

Find Yourself Again

It took a while, but Mary really hit her stride following Matthew’s death. She’s a single woman in charge of a whole estate (with the help of Tom and her father, of course), she’s a mother, and she’s rocking the whole thing. Mary can be a bit of a stick in the mud, but she’s realized that she doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to, and seems comfortable in her own skin.

I hope Meredith takes the same time to find herself and do what she wants to do.

Who would have though that a Victorian-era show would have so many lessons for a show like Grey’s Anatomy. I, for one, would love a crossover. Who else wants to see Alex Karev in the outfits of the English aristocracy?

Images: ABC/Adam Taylor; Giphy (5)