When McDreamy died last season in a car crash on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, it just drove some fans crazy. Today at TCA’s TGIT panel, Shonda Rhimes expounded on the reasoning behind Dr. Derek Shepherd’s death.

“The decision to have the character die the way that he did wasn’t a difficult one in the show,” Rhimes said. “Either GREY'S ANATOMYDerek was going to walk out on Meredith and leave her high and dry, but then that would say that the love wasn’t true over the last 11 years of the show. … That would be untenable. … He couldn’t be the bad guy and walk out. The only way to make Meredith and Derek’s magic remain true was to keep it frozen in time.”

She added: “There had been a lot of discussions ,and we had been working for a long time, so those choices weren’t easy for us.”

Said actress Ellen Pompeo who portrays Dr. Meredith: “As difficult as those decisions are, it’s her best writing. And as an actor, that’s the best scenes you want to play, the meatier stuff.”

Earlier today, ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee said about McDreamy’s death, “It was great, wasn’t it?” regarding the national conversation that resulted from the plot twists. Lee added it was “a difficult decision.”

After consistent bugging by the press about plot lines next season in Shondaland, Rhimes let if fly in terms of what we could expect on Grey’s Anatomy.

Said Rhimes, “There’s a much lighter tone this year. … Meredith is single and she’s living this life that she never thought she would be living again. She’s living in a house with her sisters, and she’s surrounded by single women who are dating and having a whole life and she’s not interested in that. Is there a second life here or are the best years of your life behind you? … It’s a weird rebirth of all the characters but really for Meredith.”

Added Pompeo: “It’s an important human story to tell. So many people lose their spouses in a myriad of different ways. A lot of people feel they can’t get up. So to tell that story about how life goes on after what you think is impossible. It’s something so many people can relate to, and to tell those stories and to give anybody, even one person a little bit of comfort or open their eyes to a new idea…that’s a story worth telling.”