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There’s a reason surgeons learn to wield scalpels. We like to pretend we’re hard, cold scientists. We like to pretend we're fearless. But the truth is we become surgeons because somewhere deep down we think we can cut away that which haunts us. Weakness, frailty, death. It isn't just surgeons. The truth is I don't know anyone who isn't haunted by something or someone. And whether we try to slice the pain away with a scalpel or shove it in the back of a closet- our efforts usually fail. So the only way we can clear out the cobwebs is to turn a new page or put an old story to rest - finally, finally to rest.

Haunt You Every Day is the fifth episode of the fourth season and the 66th overall episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Short Summary[]

Meredith feels she's being haunted by her Mother's ashes, and Cristina is denied a surgery for a surprising reason.

Full Summary[]

It's Halloween. Meredith has a nightmare about her mother and Derek. It ends with her laying in a casket in the morgue, telling herself "Pick me. Choose me. Love me" before waking up. She immediately goes into her closet and takes her mother's urn.

Downstairs in the kitchen, Izzie is decorating some treats and Alex is carving a pumpkin when Meredith walks in. They said they couldn't sleep. Meredith dumps the ashes into a plastic bag, horrifying the other two. "Happy freaking Halloween," Alex says.

Cristina is seen putting up a flyer offer to rent out Burke's apartment. Richard notices and asks about the apartment. He says that Adele has filed for divorce and that he is in need of a place to stay. Cristina takes the flyer down and hands it to Richard, telling him the apartment is his.

In the resident's locker room, Meredith is trying to find a place to put her mother until she can find a way to let her rest, while the others look on. Sydney says Meredith is cleansing, which is a thing in some cultures. Callie and Miranda walk in tell the residents that the pit will be overrun due to the annual chainsaw pumpkin carving contest and to make sure they keep control of their interns. Izzie asks if they should round before heading to the pit and Callie, without looking at her, says that all her questions will be directed to Miranda. Cristina verifies that that's what they all do and Callie says that only Stevens will. Miranda asks why and Callie announces to everyone "because she's been sleeping with my husband" and leaves. All heads turn to Izzie, who leaves. Cristina finds it more disturbing than Meredith's bag full of mommy.

Lexie, who is wearing a bonnet and drawn on freckles, is shown talking to Erin, the daughter of Jack, a patient who is waiting for a heart transplant. She is upset because he didn't receive any medication and tells Lexie that if they had time to dress up in a costume then they should have time to provide care. Jack then says to his daughter that maybe people are having a hard time taking her seriously because she's dressed up as a mouse. She says that she works with 5 year olds, verifying that her costume is acceptable, while Lexie's is not. George walks up and says that he will take care of things. He tells Lexie to make sure all medications are given before doing anything else and tells her he likes her costume. She says thanks and that Cristina said they could wear costumes when George cuts her off and says that Cristina is playing them. Defeated, Lexie exclaims that she knew.

Meanwhile in the clinic, Miranda is looking at some charts when a Mr. Miller walks up behind her. He is seen stomping and shaking his foot. Miranda asks him if it's numb or hurting and he says it isn't, but that is just isn't his foot. He swears he's not crazy, but he needs a surgeon to cut off his foot.

Meredith is walking around a corner when she runs into Derek and drops her mother's ashes. He notices the bags and she admits it's her mother. She asks him if it's disrespectful to put her in her car since people were freaking out about it being in a cubby in the locker room. She had to deal with her mother. This is her trying to evolve. A little boy, Ryan, walks up asking if it really is her mom's ashes. Meredith asks if he is lost. He isn't, his mom works in the cafeteria. Ryan was looking for Dr. Sloan. Meredith asks Derek if he can take care of him. He will, and he asks Meredith to take care of her mother.

Mark greets Olivia as he hands her a chart. She tells him not to smile at her while another nurse backs her up. They tell him that they are on to him and have compared notes, pick up lines and techniques. "Identical", they say. They have formed a club, Nurses United Against Mark Sloan. He asks if they have any club activities. They walk away disgusted. Derek walks up and says that there's a kid looking for him. Ryan appears behind Derek and looks at Mark asking "daddy?". Mark is shocked and looks at the kid. Ryan looks at Derek and they start laughing while Derek shows Mark a $20 bill that he hands over to Ryan. Mark tells Derek that he will be getting him back for that and Derek replies that he is looking forward to it. Ryan says to Mark that he is not his father but that he is hoping he can build him some ears.

Alex is at a computer charting when a nurse says there is a request for him in curtain 3. On his way, Norman tells him that he is feeling a little under the weather and that he does not want to risk spreading germs to patients and asks to go home. Alex tells him that if he wants to be surgeon, he needs to tough it out since surgeons stand up through 10, 12, and 15 hour surgeries without food, water, or bathroom breaks and no complaints. They approach curtain 3 and before pulling the curtain back he says that surgeons don't go home cause of a tickle in their throat. He pulls back the curtain and Rebecca is on the other side. Norman replies that it's not so much a tickle in is throat when Alex cuts him off and tells him to make himself busy. Rebecca tells Alex that all the moms in her town dress up for Halloween and that the only thing she could think of to be was Ava. Alex then pulls her in for a passionate kiss.

Mark is looking at Ryan's scan when Meredith enters. There are letters from kids in his class addressed to Mark sitting on the table. Mark tells Meredith that Ryan has the internal structure to hear, he just doesn't have a canal or external structure. Ryan thought that if he came in and showed him the letters, that Dr. Sloan would feel sorry for him and do the surgery pro bono. Also, people thinks his ears are part of a costume. Mark tells him that he would like to help but that it requires staff, an OR, and anesthesiologists. He can't ask for favors because he never did any favors for the other doctors and the nurses hate him. Meredith says she has social capital. Her mom knew people and that she will try to find staff to help. Mark tells her that if she can make it happen, then he'll do it. Ryan asks Meredith if those people know she has her mother in a baggie.

In the on-call room, Alex and Rebecca are kissing. She stops and says he didn't come for her. He chickened out. She gets that it was a lot, but she really thought he'd come for her after the chickening out part. She tells him that she came back for him and that it makes her a beggar. She wants to talk. Alex says they will, before he leans in to kiss her.

Meanwhile, Miranda's patient, who had a psych consult, is given a prescription for anti-anxiety medication while Miranda goes to deal with the patients coming from the chainsaw carving contest. The patient is upset and demands to see a surgeon. Miranda tells him that she is a surgeon and that he will not be able to persuade her or any other surgeon to perform the amputation and says that he needs to try the meds.

Meredith is in the Chief's office asking for the OR and equipment. As Richard is explaining that his pro bono surgery slate is full, she signals for Ryan to come in and he enters saying "trick-or-treat", for ears. Meredith tells Richard that her mom was big on pro bono surgeries. Richard agrees to give them OR 2 at 6 pm.

As an ambulance is heading to the bay, Izzie, George and Lexie are waiting. Lexie can feel the tensions and offers to wait somewhere else so they can talk. Izzie says that there is no reason to talk since they no longer have secrets because Callie told everyone. George says that it's going to be a long day. The paramedic is pulling the patient out and says that her name is "Erin Shanley, 34, massive head trauma when a brick came through her windshield". Kids were screwing around on a bridge. Izzie is looking at the head trauma and points out that there is brain matter coming out. She is a donor. George and Lexie look at the patient's face and realize that she is the daughter of their patient waiting for a heart transplant.

Miranda is stitching up a patient's hand after he had an accident with the chainsaw. He brought his finger in, but it was caught in the chainsaw. He brought that with him, only to find that it's gone. Then they hear the chainsaw and Bailey realizes what's happening. They come up to a closed curtain where the noise is coming from. Cristina throws the curtain back and sees Mr. Miller sawing off his leg, splattering Cristina, Norman, and Miranda in blood.

Mark and Callie are examining the cut and decide that there is no fixing it. It's unbelievable he got this far without being high. Callie will go ahead and finish the job. Miller thanks her. Miranda notices Norman looking a bit odd and asks if he is okay. He says he doesn't do well with severed limbs and felt a little queasy. He'll help Cristina prep the OR. Mark loves Halloween because the crazies come out to play. She understands how your life can feel like it isn't your own. He heard about her marriage and offers to cheer her up, day or night. She can't believe this has become her life.

Richard, Lexie, George and Izzie are telling Jack about his daughter's accident. Richard tells him that according to her license, she was an organ donor. Since he is next of kin, and if he agrees to take her off life support, he can direct the heart to himself. She'd be a perfect match for him. Jack asks them to go away. They do, letting him know that Dr. O'Malley will take him to see his daughter if he would like.

Sydney walks into Derek. She thinks it's a good way to make this their first official introduction. She smiles as he walks off. The conversation was witnessed by Ryan and Meredith, who asks Ryan if he think Sydney's pretty. He says he likes cheerful people. Meredith says she can be cheerful, but the ashes make him doubt that.

Meredith asks Miranda if she would help out with the pro bono surgery. Miranda replies that she is in a mountain full of paperwork due to the chainsaw incident that happened under her watch and she promised her husband to see her son in his costume. Ryan does his trick or treat bit again. She finally agrees to do it. Meredith asks her to find some surgical nurses to help.

Derek, Lexie and George are in Erin's room with her dad. He thinks this doesn't make sense. Derek explains that Erin is gone. Jack asks Derek for the paperwork. They can have her organs. George asks about her heart and he says to give it to someone else.

In the cafeteria, Meredith and Cristina are talking about what to do with the ashes. She also brings up Derek and Sydney. Izzie and George sit down, bringing awkwardness to the table. Cristina ignores them while Izzie says for Meredith to just ask. She asks if they're together. They confirm that. Izzie says they did it just once. They are waiting to be together out of respect for Callie's feelings. Cristina scoffs and leaves. Meredith leaves for her earless boy only after telling she is happy for them.

Alex is still in the on-call room with Rebecca when Norman pages him. He says Norman can handle it a little longer without him. Alex and Rebecca talk about her daughter, who's perfect. She's figured out now that wrapping her in her shirt makes her calm down. Alex says that is because the shirt smells like her, and he asks about her husband. She replies he loves their daughter, too. Alex falls alseep when Rebecca is trying to talk to him about the two of them.

Richard meets with Dr. Hahn for the heart transplant. She's surprised that the recipient doesn't want the heart, after which Richard tells her it's from his daughter.

Cristina directs a patient to OR 2 and asks Norman to page Torres, when her and Izzie see Dr. Hahn. They both want in on the surgery, even though the donor is Izzie's patient. Richard leaves to let Hahn decide. Hahn tells Cristina that she dates men, so Cristina's trick of sleeping with her mentor won't work on her. Cristina is confused. Hahn thinks Cristina wouldn't have to impress in the bedroom if she were good in the OR. She allows Izzie to scrub in on the surgery, leaving Cristina baffled.

While taking Miller to the OR, Cristina complains about being stuck with the crazy guy. Miller says what's crazy is walking through your life like you have no control over your own body. Norman still thinks cutting it off is crazier.

Dr. Hahn goes into Erin's room and introduces herself to Jack. The transplant team is ready, if he's ready to say goodbye. Jack figures out she doesn't have kids due to the way she walked in there and said what she said. He still refuses his daughter's heart. It would haunt him every day of his life. Hahn says she's sorry and leaves after asking to be paged when he's ready. George speaks up to Jack, saying he doesn't have kids, but he knows what it's like to lose a parent. His daughter loved him. She would want him to have her heart. George says he would've given his dad his heart if he could have. Izzie and Lexie are moved. Jack then agrees to take the heart.

In the stairs, Izzie and Cristina start bickering. Izzie can't believe that Cristina is judging her. She really didn't mean to hurt Callie. Cristina is upset because Izzie slept with a married man. She slept with her boyfriend, so it's not the same thing. However, Izzie doesn't understand why Cristina was okay with Meredith sleeping with a married man, when it's clearly a problem if Izzie does it. She says that Meredith and Cristina are in their own little circle where everything is fine. Izzie knows that she did not sleep with Burke to get ahead, and she would have defended Cristina if Hahn had asked. She needs for Cristina to cut her some slack. She truly is sorry for hurting Callie. Cristina says she and Meredith are not a closed circle, but Izzie disagrees.

Derek notices a nurse checking him out. He runs into Sydney again, who talks about genealogy. Derek walks off and sees Mark laughing nearby. Derek figures out that Mark is behind it. Mark told everyone that Derek was looking. Derek replies that this is why the nurses hate him.

Meredith tells Ryan that they finally have everyone and everything they need. It's time to call his mother, because he's gonna get some ears.

Callie, Cristina and Norman are finishing the amputation. Callie still can't believe what happened. Norman says people do crazy things, prompting Cristina and Callie to compare the crazy things that have happened to them recently. As they are laughing about their failed love lives, Norman collapses.

Alex is paged awake. As he gets dressed, he tells Rebecca something happened to his intern. She says they need to talk. He says he'll come back and kisses her before walking out.

While scrubbing in, Mark tells Meredith he's impressed with how she managed to put this surgery together. She's impressed herself, considering it was her first trick-or-treating. Her mother never took her, nor did she make her a costume. Also, she said it was rude to beg people for food. Mark says the apple fell pretty far from the tree.

Alex bursts into the OR where Derek is operating on Norman. Norman had a stroke, and it's possible he may never talk again. There's no way to know he'll be okay until he wakes up after the surgery. Alex is visibly worried.

In the OR, Lexie and George are watching Hahn and Izzie perform the transplant. Lexie asks George if his marriage is really over. He says yes. She asks if Meredith really brought her mother's ashes to work. He nods.

Rebecca is pacing in the on-call room while Alex is still in Derek's OR.

Mark and Meredith have built perfect ears.

Erica shocks the heart and it starts beating.

Norman wakes up and asks what happened, which is a big relief for Alex. 

Lexie catches up with Meredith. She says she watched a heart transplant, and Meredith says she helped build a little boy some ears. Lexie says she dug up her mom's cat. Since Susan didn't leave them any instructions, they had to figure out what she wanted. Susan loved that cat. So, Lexie dug her up, snuck into the cemetery and reburried it with her mother. It was creepy and morbid, but it made her mom happy. Meredith thanks her.

Bailey is out in the ambulance bay while on the phone with Tucker. She's trying to explain why she didn't make it in time, but he just hangs up on her. George comes outside and they sit down together. George tells her about the special heart transplant. Bailey asks if he's all right. George is sure she's heard about his marriage. He's sorry if he disappointed her. Bailey says she's not his mother. George realizes he's gonna have to talk to his mother, too. Bailey tells him he's not a bad guy. What he did was unkind and hurtful and wrong, but it takes two to reach that point in your marriage. Here she is helping an earless boy, and her husband wants to act like that's not a good thing. That's on him, wanting things to be purely black and white. She missed her son's first Halloween and her heart is aching, but that doesn't mean anything to him. In his world, she simply didn't make it home, meaning she's the bad guy. George is sorry for her. Bailey was there when his father died and when he came back from Vegas. It's not black and white.

Cristina confronts Hahn and tells her that she's attracted to talent that resembles her own. Hahn's comment was unprofessional and inappropriate. Hahn laughs and replies that this is going to be so much fun, when Richard walks about and announces that Dr. Hahn has agreed to take the position of Head of Cardio. Hahn says that she's looking forward to it and walks away. Cristina tells Richard that he can't have the apartment and walks away.

Alex is with Norman, apologizing about ignoring his complaints and pages earlier. Norman says that he originally wanted to go into psych, but decided to go do surgery because his late wife told him. He says that she knew he was going to have a stroke and she wanted him to be near world class surgeons when it happened. Alex asks him what he is going to do now. Norman says that he's going into psych, because the surgeons are a bunch of little children running around with scalpels and severed feet, having inappropriate sex in inappropriate places. They all need a good shrink.

Meredith is checking on Ryan when he wakes up and tells her about his goldfish that died. They flushed it down the toilet to go back to the sea. He says back to the sea is better than her cubby. She smiles.

Derek sits down with Richard and asks if he's okay. Richard is unsure if he can handle one more night in the hotel. Richard asks Derek what's wrong with him. Derek says that he has to start dating.

Alex finds that Rebecca's gone, but she's left her shirt on the pillow. He smells it.

George finds Izzie sitting on a bench outside the hospital. She's happy that they made it through this day. They hold hands.

Cristina is showing Callie around in her apartment, which is really messy. Callie can sleep on the sofa. Callie asks if Cristina minds if she cleans up a little. Cristina minds a lot.

Meredith is in the scrub room, washing her mother's ashes down the sink, as Richard comes in. Meredith thinks this is where her mother would want to be. Richard takes a handful of ashes and helps her. He wonders if they should say a prayer, but Meredith says her mother didn't believe in anything. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," he says as the ashes are washed from their hands.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


Medical Notes[]

Jack Shandley[]

  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Heart transplant

Jack was in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant. His daughter said that his meds were late. When his daughter was pronounced brain dead after a brick went through her windshield, he was told he could do a directed donation of her heart to him. He was initially reluctant, but ultimately agreed.

James Miller[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Body dysmorphic disorder
    • Traumatic amputation
  • Treatment:
    • Foot amputation

James came into the clinic with the belief that his foot was not a part of his body. He wanted a surgeon to amputate it. A psychiatrist recommended anti-anxiety meds, but James said they wouldn't help. He insisted that he needed a surgeon. When they wouldn't agree, he took a chainsaw and cut off his own foot. Since his foot was mangled, Callie agreed to finish the amputation.


  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Ear resonstruction

Ryan was born without the outer structure of his ears, despite having all the internal necessities to hear. He approached Mark to operate pro bono to create some ears for him, which he agreed to do. The ear reconstruction went well and he was awake and alert after surgery.

Erin Shandley[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Brain death
  • Treatment:
    • Organ harvesting

Erin, 34, came into the ER with massive head trauma after a brick came through her windshield. There was brain matter present and she was declared brain dead. Since her father was in the hospital awaiting a heart transplant, he was able to make a choice to have a directed donation to him. Her other organs were also harvested for transplant.

Fingerless Guy[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Digit amputation
  • Treatment:

A man came into the clinic after cutting off his finger with a chainsaw while carving a pumpkin. He was told the finger would not be able to be re-attached.

Norman Shales[]

  • Diagnosis:
    • Stroke
  • Treatment:
    • Clot evacuation

Norman had a stroke while he was in surgery. Derek went in to remove the clot and he woke up after the procedure.


Song Performer Scene
"Listen Up!" The Gossip
  • Meredith walks around the hospital in white scrubs, plagued by memories of her past.
  • She goes into the morgue and pulls out a drawer with her own body on it.
"Fools Gold" Katie Herzig
  • Alex sees Rebecca in the ER.
  • They kiss.
"Come Out of the Shade" The Perishers
  • Alex and Rebecca make out in an on-call room. She asks why he didn't come for her.
"Polite Dance Song" The Bird and the Bee
  • Meredith talks to Cristina about putting her mother to rest so she's not haunted.
  • Izzie and George join them and declare that they're together now.
  • Meredith says she's happy for them.
"Get Well Soon" The Perishers
  • Norman is having surgery when Alex comes in.
  • Erica does Jack's heart transplant.
  • Lexie and George watch and talk about George's marriage and Meredith.
  • Rebecca waits in the on-call room.
  • Alex watches Norman's surgery.
  • Mark finishes the ears.
  • Erica is able to start Jack's new heart.
  • Norman wakes up.
  • Lexie and Meredith have a moment of bonding.
"I Will Show You Love" Kendall Payne
  • Ryan tells Meredith back to the sea is better than her cubby.
  • Richard tells Derek he doesn't want to spend another night in the hotel.
  • Derek tells Richard he's distressed because he has to start dating.
  • Alex goes back to the on-call room to see that Rebecca has left, but she left her shirt for him. He sniffs it.
  • George and Izzie say they made it through the day.
  • Cristina shows Callie the apartment. Callie asks if she can clean up and Cristina says she can't.
  • Meredith washes her mom's ashes down a scrub sink.
  • Richard comes in and helps.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • This episode's title originated from the song Haunt You Every Day, originally sung by Weezer.
  • This episode scored 18.17 million viewers.[1]
  • Brooke Smith joins the main cast as Dr. Erica Hahn as of this episode.
  • It's odd that Sydney Heron had to introduce herself to Derek since she's a fifth year general surgery resident, meaning she should have been on his service before during her education.


Episode Stills[]


Izzie: What is that?
Meredith: My mother.
Alex: Happy freaking Halloween.

Derek: What is that?
Meredith: It’s charts.
Derek: Meredith…
Meredith: It’s my mom. I had her in the cubby and she was freaking people out. I was just gonna go put her in the car. Do you think that’s disrespectful? To leave her in the car?
Derek: It’s a little….
Meredith: It’s not that strange. I mean, I’m trying to figure out how to put her to rest. I can’t shove her in the back of my closet anymore. I have to deal with her. And this is me trying…to evolve. I’m trying here. So, cubby or car?
Derek: You’re asking me if I think you should put your mom’s ashes in your cubby or your car. You don’t think that’s very very strange?
Ryan: Are those really your mom’s ashes?
Derek: It’s strange, right? It’s strange.

Mark: (to Callie) And if there's anything you need me to do to cheer you up, I'm around. Day or night. Night in particular.

Mark: You will not believe what just happened.
Derek: There's a kid looking for you.
Ryan: Daddy?
Mark: What?!
(Derek hands Ryan $5)
Mark: I am so getting you back for that.

Cristina: I did not sleep my way to the top. I'm attracted to talent that resembles my own. Not that it's any of your business. Your comments were unprofessional and inappropriate. You know what? You're inappropriate and unprofessional!
Erica: This is gonna be so much fun.
Richard: Dr. Yang, did you hear it? Dr. Hahn has agreed to become our new Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery!
Erica: Looking forward to it, Dr. Yang. (walks off)
Cristina: You can't have my apartment.

See Also[]

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.

The Grey Matter blog post on this episode can be found here.