Sandra Oh left after season 10 of Grey's Anatomy, but her character Cristina Yang has never been forgotten by fans. She's also been referenced from time to time over the course of the show. In the Nov. 14 episode, Cristina wrote Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) a letter of testimony to be used at Meredith's medical license hearing.
Her words were enough to make any Grey's fan burst into tears, and the letter may have also helped Meredith keep her license after all. The letter also showed a rare side of the Cristina. She was never one to get mushy or overly emotional, but she had her moments — especially with Meredith. One of the best Meredith and Cristina scenes came during Sandra Oh's exit from the show. Before leaving, Cristina told Mer not to let Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) overshadow Meredith's own needs in her career. "You are a gifted surgeon with an extraordinary mind," Cristina said, "Don't let what he wants eclipse what you need. He's very dreamy, but he is not the sun. You are."
The part about Meredith being the sun is one of Grey's Anatomy's most quoted lines, and it came up again in Cristina's letter to the medical commission in regards to Meredith keeping her license. The full letter is below, and just try and see if you can get through it without sobbing.
"Dear medical commission: People who know me would describe me as selfish to a fault. After that, they'd say, 'honest.' I can honestly tell you that if I were dying and a surgery stood between me and death, Dr. Grey's hands are the only ones that I'd want inside my body. Taking away her license is signing the death certificates of countless future patients. She is a light in a broken system that she will fix, whether you want her to or not. She is the sun and she is unstoppable. Sincerely, Dr. Cristina Yang."
Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) secured the letter from Cristina along with many others from former doctors on the show. He told the medical commission that he could keep reading them all day. He didn't, which robbed fans a chance to hear what Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez), Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw), April Kepner (Sarah Drew), or Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) might have had to say. But the Cristina letter was more than enough of a reference to seasons of old to tide fans over for a while. It also wasn't the first mention of Dr. Yang this season.
Earlier in season 16, Meredith had just written a negative article about the hospital, which she knew would incur the wrath of chief Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson). Cristina texted Meredith, "Move to Switzerland before Bailey murders you in your sleep." It was classic Cristina, brusque and to the point, but with a little bit of humor.
It's hard to believe it's been six seasons since fans have seen Dr. Yang on screen, but her presence is still very much felt throughout the show. The outright references are a fun way to remind viewers that she and Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) are still best friends and always there for each other when it counts. Even though they're separated by miles, with Cristina in Switzerland and Meredith in Seattle, they'll still always be each other's "person."