Credit: ABC Photo: Grey's Anatomy Poster: Cristina, Derek, and Meredith

MerDer shippers will likely freak — and femmeslash writers will rejoice— when they read Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes's comments about Meredith's (Ellen Pompeo) soulmate being Cristina (Sandra Oh) instead of Derek (Patrick Dempsey).

But you just have to read that seemingly outlandish statement in its full context: an Entertainment Weekly interview with Shonda and Sandra — published mere hours before the latter's final episode of the hit medical drama.

"I know a lot of people like to think that Derek is [Meredith's] soul mate, but I think that Cristina is her soul mate and Derek is the man she loves," Shonda explains. "And that’s lovely. I have these friendships, you know? And I’ve had really close friends, who were [and] still are my closest friends in the world, move away, and it’s devastating. And I was surprised by how devastating it was — being a grown woman and having my own life and my own family and everything."

The prolific TV producer elaborates: "You are somebody special when you’re with that best friend, the same way you are somebody special when you’re with the person that you love. But there’s a discovery that you can remain the person that you are — that Meredith can remain the person that she was with Cristina — whether or not [they] are actually physically there."

Shonda says that the two "persons" will still stay in touch — but perhaps in the way we all do with friends from prior eras in of lives, for whom the daily phone call becomes the weekly email which then becomes the yearly Christmas card.

"The relationship is gonna be still there for her, it’s just gonna take a different form."

OK, we'll try to remember that between sobs tonight.

Grey's Anatomy Season 10, Episode 24 — "Fear (of the Unknown)" — airs at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Dan Clarendon is an assistant editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter and Google+!