August 6, 1953
|“||It's awful being a grownup. But the carousel never stops turning. You can't get off."||”|
— Ellis Grey
Ellis Grey was the mother of Meredith Grey and the ex-wife of Thatcher Grey. She was also the birth mother of Maggie Pierce. During her time, she was a world famous surgeon who was twice honored with the Harper Avery Award. She was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Ellis was born on August 6, 1953. Little to nothing is known about her childhood. At some point in her life, she met Thatcher Grey. They married and welcomed a baby girl, Meredith, into their lives in 1978.
Affair with RichardEdit
Meanwhile, Ellis had finished med school and started her surgical residency at Seattle Grace Hospital, where she was often looked down on as she was one of the few and first female surgeons. Due to her large professional drive and her wanting to prove herself, she worked a lot and didn't spend much time with her family.
She bonded with her fellow resident Richard, who was also being looked down on because of his skin color. They soon started off an affair and began planning a life together. In June 1983, the two of them made a deal to tell their spouses about their affair and leave them, as they didn't want to continue cheating. Right after making the deal, Richard overheard that Ellis was put on the short list for the Harper Avery Award for the Grey Method, being the first resident to ever make it onto that list. That night, Ellis told Thatcher, but Richard chose to be with his wife, Adele, because he was hopelessly jealous of Ellis's professional success and didn't want to feel like that his entire life.
Devastated over the fact that Richard left her, Ellis slit her wrists in front of Meredith as a cry for Richard's attention. Ellis told Meredith not to be scared of the blood and forbade her to call 911. Eventually, Ellis passed out and Meredith called 911. Ellis was transported to the ER and her life was saved thanks to Meredith.
While being treated, Ellis was discovered to be pregnant with Richard's child, which is why she decided to move to Boston. She stopped drinking wine and wrote down what she ate in her journals, indicating Ellis did want her baby to be healthy. Ellis took her daughter with her and they hid in their apartment. Ellis cried a lot, but Meredith knew not to ask any questions. Eventually, Ellis's water broke and she gave birth to Maggie on November 22, 1983, giving her up for adoption. She was sure she wanted to sign away all her rights to the baby, because she needed to start over after Richard left her. She wanted to find a way to step off the carousel, to start again.
Living in BostonEdit
Then, Ellis and Meredith didn't have to hide anymore, so they moved across town to a nice house. Meredith started first grade and Ellis started her fellowship at Mass Gen, continuing her career.
When we were first introduced to Ellis, she was suffering from Alzheimer's and resided at the Roseridge Home for Extended Care. Her case was advanced, and she most often thought she was still completing her residency. As a result, she seldom recognized her daughter, but delighted in visits from Richard Webber. When Richard decided to salvage his marriage to Adele, Meredith was forced to break the news to Ellis that he would not be visiting any more, which caused her to relive their initial break-up.
She briefly became lucid ("Wishin' and Hopin'") and the last thing she remembered was her fight with Meredith about going to medical school. On discovery she had Alzheimer's she was distraught and had a cardiac episode, leading to her being admitted to Seattle Grace. While she was there, she met Cristina and Derek, showing how perceptive she really is, working out the close relationship with Cristina and Meredith and working out Derek is the boyfriend, despite only short periods of contact with each of them.
While Meredith's life lingered in the balance after drowning, Ellis flatlined and was unable to be revived. And though her relationship with Meredith hadn't always been strong (she told her daughter that she was just 'ordinary' after finding out about Derek in her one day of lucidity), everything was set right and Meredith's feelings were fine with her mother's death when, as Meredith was hanging between life and death, she saw her mother's spirit who told her she was 'anything but ordinary.' She was later cremated, put into a beautiful urn, and for a time was "hanging out in the back of Meredith's closet." Her ashes were later washed down a surgical sink at Seattle Grace Hospital by Meredith and Richard, who saw it as a fitting tribute for her final resting place to be so closely associated with the hospital which she dedicated her life to.
In the alternate universe, Ellis never developed Alzheimer's, Richard chose her instead of Adele, and they raised Meredith together. Ellis is also Chief of Surgery and Chief of Staff at Seattle Grace.
She was extremely overbearing, intense, driven, and hardworking.
During her residency, she had an affair with former SGH Chief of Surgery, Dr. Richard Webber, when they were both residents. As residents, the two doctors had a defining moment in both their careers and their relationship when they took care of one of the first patients diagnosed with G.R.I.D. (Gay-related immune deficiency, an early name for AIDS).
She was married about 30 years ago to Thatcher Grey, who left the family when Meredith was young, partly as a result of Ellis's affair. Ellis and Richard planned to leave their respective partners and get married but eventually Richard chose Adele over Ellis, although he did still have feelings for her.
Ellis decided to slit her wrists in front of Meredith and forbade her to call an ambulance. When her mother passed out Meredith rang an ambulance and her mother lived. Years later with the help of her psychiatrist Meredith realized that her mother wasn't trying to commit suicide, she cut her wrists in the hopes that Richard would find out and take her back. However, Richard never heard about the incident and she was too stubborn to ask.
Ellis completed her surgical residency at Seattle Grace Hospital. She was the only female in her residency class. During her residency, along with Richard Webber, she treated and identified the hospital's first G.R.I.D. patient. During her final year of residency, Ellis created an audacious laparocopic technique to treat gallbladders and subsequently named it, audaciously, The Grey Method when it was published by The American Journal of Medicine. She listed herself as first author, and it put her on the short list for her first Harper Avery nomination. The nomination itself was groundbreaking as no resident ever had been nominated.
After her divorce with Thatcher and break-up with Richard, Ellis moved with Meredith to pursue a fellowship position at Massachusetts General Hospital. She then won the Harper Avery and dedicated the win to all the female surgeons in the world that would come after her. Ellis continued to be a pioneer in surgery as her distinguished career included tenures at Boston General, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and for the U.N., and won another Harper Avery award.
She has also documented a significant aspect of her surgical training, in the form of videos, which were watched while the group were still interns, and in her journals, writing about her relationship with Richard and her surgical training, referencing staff at Seattle Grace, such as Margaret Campbell, and which Cristina greatly enjoys, for both medicine and romance. According to her journals, the decision of whether or not Ellis would get the first solo surgery was the greatest and most terrifying moment in her life.
Notes and TriviaEdit
- She was allergic to penicillin.
- Ellis says that carousels give her the creeps.
- In her Alzheimer's state, she believed that George is Thatcher, that Burke is Richard and that Mererdith is a close friend from college.
- Richard has mentioned that had she not moved to Boston, Ellis would have been chief of surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital.
- If/Then explores this possibility as she is both chief of staff and chief of surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital.
- She first met Richard Webber when her daughter was three.
- She won her first Harper Avery Award in 1988, when she was a fellow.
- She was nominated for a Harper Avery Award five times in total.
- Ellis was with Richard when she was told she was nominated for her first Harper Avery Award
- After Meredith, she had a second child with Richard Webber, whom she gave up for adoption. That child later found her name in the adoption records and came to work at Grey Sloan Memorial as the new head of Cardio.
- Her granddaughter, Ellis, was named after her.
These episodes are Ellis-centric or otherwise very informative about her life.
Memorable Quotes Edit
- Anyone can fall in love and be blindly happy, but not everyone can pick up a scalpel and save a life.
- You're waiting for inspiration, are you kidding me? I have a disease for which there is no cure, I think that would be inspiration enough!
- You grew up. It's a shame. It's awful being a grown-up.
- You are anything but ordinary, Meredith.
- He's gone back to Adele. Of course he has. He's afraid. Afraid to be happy. And I'm all alone. Now I have to raise my daughter alone. How am I expected to do that?
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|Grey's Anatomy, Season 6|
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