(Consider this your official spoiler alert: from here on out, this post will contain secrets from the series finale; read at your own risk.)
Sure, we knew someone was going to die — it certainly wouldn't be the first time — but we didn't know it would be so heart-wrenching. Though, honestly, we really should have guessed this would be the case since the emotional goodbyes have been pouring in for months now.
So who kicked the bucket? Up first, none other than Stefan Salvatore, who recently transitioned from vampire back to human and ultimately sacrificed himself to save his brother, kill Katherine, and destroy hell. (Side note: we totally called it.)
The good news is, he found peace by doing so, and by the end of the episode, so too would a human Damon and a human Elena. The pair reunited after Elena woke up from her permanent slumber thanks to that quick little moment when Bonnie's heart did technically stop — all about the details, those death loopholes — but their time together, at least as we would see it, remained brief: Vampire Diaries pulled a Six Feet Under and fast forwarded to the couple's death, showing both reuniting with their families in the afterlife.
While the rest of the gang appeared to end up happy — Bonnie's traveling the world, Matt's considering a run for mayor, Caroline and Ric are launching a school for their daughter and other "gifted" children — their more optimistic fates were not enough to prevent the internet from breaking out in collective sobs of the beloved series conclusion. The characters may be fictional, but the pain is very real.
The perfect symmetry of the last line hit many fans the hardest and got the tears flowing.
Fans of the show weren't the only ones feeling all the feels. "I got pretty emotional about it,"Matt Davis, who played Alaric Saltzman, told Entertainment Weekly. "I teared up and I never really tear up when it comes to sentimental Vampire Diaries-esque things. I thought how it ended was powerful," agreed Paul Wesley, a.k.a Stefan.
Nina Dobrev, who reprised her role as Elena for the finale, admitted to shedding tears. "I cried at the end when I read that Elena was writing in the diary again, when Elena basically says the same sentence that I did in the pilot eight years ago," she confessed to EW.
Ian Somerhalder remained more matter-of-fact: "It’s invariably difficult to satisfy everyone, and that’s what I find so interesting about the endings of TV shows that people go on and on and on discussing. You’re never going to satisfy an entire populous of people. The interpretation that you leave is what you leave," stated simply. "This is the end of our show."
Wipe those eyes, friends. The show may be over, but true vampire love? That's forever.