We SO understand if you need a few moments to absorb this not-unexpected-but-still-gut-wrenching news, by the way. We'll wait. Because before you read any further, you need to be prepared for excess sobbage.
Ready? OK. Well, tonight's (May 14) Season 6 finale episode, called "I'm Thinking of You All the While," featured Elena Gilbert's final farewell, and we are struggling like whoa to keep it together right now because the Dobrev departure was a doozy.
Not only did certain events** transpire (gulp), but they also dug the gut-wrencher stake in real deep-like by offering individual goodbyes with everyone because TEARS ARE MANDATORY. Beware of many spoilers below.
**In a nutshell, Elena didn't die off like many suspected she might. Instead, she's now living under a Kai curse -- which totally can't be undone, even though he was, by the way -- in which she is basically existing a modern day Sleeping Beauty until Bonnie dies. Which, thanks to Damon's literal quick save, isn't going to happen anytime soon. In fact, they're all predicting 60 years ... because modern medicine and such?
But Elena didn't go out without punching every single one of 'em in the feelspot. Sometimes more than once. So, we collected all the wound saltage of the night right here for you to relive over and over again until Miss Gilbert awakens from her state of slumber ... if, that is.
Damon, Part 1The CW
The episode started out all warm with Damon on fleek and on the ground, reminiscing about their first meeting in the street way back when. Meanwhile Elena, reaching nines herself in a lovely flowing gown, knows exactly what's going on with this scene. Bummer.
Elena: It's bad, isn't it?
Damon: I believe you owe me a dance, Miss Gilbert.
Elena: Damon, how bad is it?
Damon: Dance with me please, Elena.
Alaric, Part 1The CW
Like Damon, Alaric got a couple of visits from Elena on the other other side. Which was warranted because, um, he's been through it lately.
Elena: Don't do that. Don't give up like that.
Alaric: Why not? I have nothing left to fight for.
Matt, Part 1The CW
Good old Matt, former love and always friend that he was to her, also got more than one moment with Elena to say goodbye. And in his case, it really might be goodbye, so what else could she do but make light of things. (Note: Nice try, but we still wept like babies the whole stinking time.)
Elena: Say it.
Matt: No, I'm not doing this.
Elena: Fine. I'll say it. Here lies Elena Gilbert. A fun girlfriend and an amazing friend.
Matt: I'm glad one of us can find humor in this.
Elena: We have to find humor in this, Matt. Because the alternative ... the alternative would be to say goodbye and I'm just ... I'm not ready for that yet.
Stefan, Part 1The CW
When Stefan came along in Elena's little la la land, we were already done before the first word was uttered. She chose the hiking spot where she'd confessed. Because understanding.
Elena: You knew that I never wanted to be a vampire. Even before we took our first steps up that mountain, you just wanted to hear me say it out loud.
Stefan: Oh, a lot of good that did.
Elena: I guess what I'm trying to say is you knew me better than anyone. You always have. Which is why you already know how impossible it is for me to find the words to say goodbye.
Stefan: Don't. I can't do this, not now. Not ever.
Caroline and BonnieThe CW
A teary sleepover sesh to say goodbye to the girls? Perfect.
Caroline: I'm the one who gets to see her again. You should get the better goodbye.
Elena: Care. Come here. Take care of everyone while I'm gone, okay?
Caroline: I will. I promise.
Elena: Promise me something, both of you. Write it all down. Everything that you accomplish in your lives. Every crush, when you fall in love. Start a family. Every time you fantasize about killing Damon. Write it down. So that one day when I wake up, I can read all about my best friends' lives and feel like I was there.
Bonnie: I'm sorry. Elena, I'm so sorry.
Elena: This isn't your fault. Hey, we'll both get everything that we want. We just can't have it at the same time. Bonnie Bennett, you have spent your entire life making sacrificces for me now it's my turn to do it for you. I just have on more favor to ask.
[Feathers flying all magic-style everywhere, just like the first time Bonnie revealed her gifts. D'awww.]
Bonnie: There I did it. You happy?
Matt, Part 2The CW
The Matt and Elena sappy stuff picked right back up where it'd left off -- on their bridge -- and this time, Matt was garbed in blue, just as Elena pictured him to be.
Elena: That's my hope for you, Matt. In our crazy life you always stay the same. Human, loyal, good. My hope is that you spend the rest of your life fighting for people like you.
Matt: You know there's a good chance I'll never see you again.
Elena: Matt, look at everything the two of us have survived. I like our odds.
Alaric, Part 2
Elena: You're going to think that the pain will never end, but it will. But first you have to let it all in. You can't fight it. It's bigger than you. You have to let yourself drown in it. But then eventually you'll start to swim. And then every single breath that you fight for will make you stronger. And I promise you, you will beat it.
How do you say goodbye to your little brother? We really cannot even with this stuff. Mercifully, he did the talking on this one. Because HOW.
Elena: [Cries] God, I was doing so well. Sorry. I wanted to pretend to be strong for you.
Jeremy: Hey, when you do wake up I want you to know that I spent my life doing exactly what I felt I was born to do. I was happy.
Even former-hybrids-returned-werewolves deserve a little love, right? More like sound advice (and second spinoff fodder maybe?), in this case.
Elena: You're a wolf now. Don't fight it. Embrace it. Go and be the thing that makes you extraordinary.
Stefan, Part 2The CW
Of course there was a second speech for The Stefan Salvatore, King of Elena's Heart Circa Seasons One Two and Sort of Some of the Others.
Elena: Thank you for bumping into me that day in the hallway. I never though I would ever be happy again. Then I met you. You changed everything for me. You quite literally saved my life. I love you so much. Which is why I can't wait to find out what new life you've chosen for yourself in 60 years or 70 years or whenever I see you again.
Stefan: I can guarantee it won't be high school.
Elena: Just be happy. I'll see you soon.
Damon, Parts 2 and 3The CW
Damon had the chance to bring her back immediately. But it would've involved letting Bonnie die at the hands of Kai, and he was no longer a person who could do such a thing. So, he saved her. And dream Elena was ever so grateful -- albeit not one bit surprised.
Damon: You could've just told me what to do.
Elena: I knew what you were going to do.
Damon: You knew that the evil selfish Damon Salvatore would give up the love of his life to save your best friend.
Elena: I knew the love of my life would stand by his best friend even if it meant you had to live without me for a while.
Damon: Things are going to be awfully dull around here without you.
Elena: No, they're not Damon, because you're not going to sit around waiting for me ... This isn't going to work if you just shut down. I need you to live your life. Enjoy yourself. I want you to be happy. Now, how about that dance?
And since we hadn't been through enough emotional whammies yet, they closed with this little Bring-The-Cry-Shoulders-Stat exchange.
Elena: You ready?
Damon: Ready to spend the next 60 years of my life without you? Who's ever going to be ready for that?
Elena: I love you, Damon Salvatore.
Damon: I love you, too.
Cue the spinning dance and dip kiss and all the tears. ALL OF THEM.
So. much. sad. Can't. stop. crying.