Cormac Hayes’ widow, the lovely Abigail, was briefly introduced to fans of Grey’s Anatomy in season 16, but few facts are known about the character.
In season 16, Grey’s Anatomy introduced the cute Irish pediatrician, Cormac Hayes. Hayes was, and still is, a handsome widower who had been working at the research institute in Switzerland under Cristina Yang and who joined Grey Sloan Memorial to take over the position previously held by Alex Karev.
The episode, “Love Of My Life”, in season 16, gave a glimpse into various tragic backstories of characters such as Teddy Altman and Cormac ‘McWidow’ Hayes. It was revealed that Hayes’ lovely wife, Abigail, had passed away shockingly from cancer which she got from what had at first appeared a routine surgery to remove some uterine fibroids.
Abigail Lived In Los Angeles
Abigail most likely lived in Los Angeles before she met and got married to Hayes. She met Cormac at a hotel in LA and when the latter returned to the same hotel a few years later to attend a surgical conference on behalf of Grey Sloan Memorial, he mentioned to Teddy that his sister-in-law lived in LA which is why he had brought his kids along to the conference with him.
Abigail’s Sister Made An Appearance In Season 17
In season 17, Abigail’s sister, Irene, made an appearance in the episode, “Breathe”. She was admitted into Grey Sloan after prolonged abdominal pain and tests revealed that she had a kidney stone.
While Catherine Fox herself, top in the field of urology, was consulted for the surgery, there were complications that led to Irene’s ureter getting detached during surgery. Of course, Catherine was able to attach it back but for some time, Cormac was worried that something might happen to his sister-in-law who was the only mother figure left for his boys.
Elizabeth Grullon Had Auditioned Previously To Be On Grey’s
The actress, Elizabeth Grullon, who played Abigail Hayes stated in an interview that she had appeared in auditions previously for the long-running series.
Given how Grey’s is a show on which most actors covet roles, it is no wonder that Grullon would have auditioned for years prior to landing the role of Abigail Hayes, an important role albeit in a guest star capacity since it provides the backstory for the character that is being set up as a potential love interest for Meredith Grey herself.
Abigail’s Last Words On The Show Were One Of The First Things Shot
Grullon has further stated that the heartrending scene where Abigail is on her death bed and she and Cormac weep while holding each other was one of the first scenes to be shot in the early morning on the day of filming.
The moment when Abigail tells her husband that she wants him to love again left very few dry eyes at the time, to say nothing of how beautifully it was crafted, knowing well that it would tug at the fans’ hearts. Moreover, the actors conjured up some very natural chemistry which rendered the moment even more poignant.
Grullon Was Told To Be Graceful For The Scene
Grullon has also revealed that she was told to maintain poise and grace during the filming of Abigail’s tear-jerking interaction with Cormac.
The director of the episode had told her that she would need to hold it together even though the characters around her are falling apart as they anticipate Abigail’s impending death. Abigail herself, though, would need to be strong as the knowledge of death brings with it a certain grace.
Abigail Took The Pen Passing Gig For Some Extra Cash
Abigail used to be a mixed media artist when she met Cormac. She informed Cormac that her work involved multiple exposures and instant film transfers, and hilariously, he had absolutely no clue what she was talking about.
Suffice it to say, Abigail’s art didn’t seem to pay the bills too well since she had to take up the gig to pass pens “and smile” at the conference representing a company that made erectile dysfunction drugs – a fact she wasn’t aware of. She did this for 500 bucks, an amount that she assumed sounded paltry to a doctor.
Abigail’s Death Made Her Sister Suspicious Of Western Medicine
Abigail’s tragic passing impacted her family deeply. Cormac was left to bring up their two boys all by himself while her sister, Irene, too was greatly affected.
In season 17, when Irene made an appearance, it was shown that she lived with multiple sclerosis and that she managed her pain by seeking alternative medicine solutions. Her sister’s death had left her suspicious of Western medicine methods and so she relied heavily on other forms of medicine.
Abigail & Cormac Weren’t Fully Informed Of The Risks Of The New-Fangled Technology
When the Hayeses opted for the hysterectomy, they chose to go with a technique involving a new device. Unfortunately, they hadn’t been fully informed of all the possible risks associated with using that new-fangled technology, which Cormac clearly regretted tremendously after the surgery, since it directly caused cancer to spread throughout his wife’s body.
This experience also shaped his decisions as a doctor in later life as he always preferred to inform his patients of all possible risks of a surgery even if the chances of anything actually happening were very few. This was also one of the first things ‘McWidow’ told Meredith on the elevator on his very first day at Grey Sloan Memorial.