That’s about all I could manage to utter after watching the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” on Monday night… at least for the first 5 seconds, until I erupted in a wild mixture of angry “WHAT THE HELL?” exclamations and tearful “That was PERFECT!” sobs.
Spoiler alert: I’m gonna blab about some big finale shockers here, so if you’re still waiting to watch you might want to come back to this one later.
Okay. So, I think we can all admit to falling head-over-heels in love with The Mother since we first heard her ask for one ticket to Farhampton, please. Ted wasn’t the only one taken with her – I swooned a little, too. Who wouldn’t?
It was fun to watch as they found each other – side note, the episode “How your mother met me” is probably one of the best episodes of any series ever – and to get glimpses into their future… but not too far into their future. Because, of course, their future was limited as it turns out. A few episodes before the finale we were left (or, some of us were left) with an awful feeling in the pit of our bellies, and somehow we knew… The mother wasn’t going to make it out of this alive.
Sure enough, it was revealed that the mother had actually died 6 years before Ted started telling his kids the whole story. For the entire show, Ted was telling his stories – spinning his yarns – as a widower. BAM!!! (Now go watch the whole series again with that perspective. Holy moses.)
Anyway, Ted’s kids end up telling him to call “Aunt Robin” – they love her and their mom has been gone for 6 years. It’s time, they said.
Well, some people are mad because they feel the mother ended up being used as a prop, a vehicle, in the realstory of how Ted ended up with the real love of his life, Robin. I disagree. I disagree wholeheartedly.
In the episode “How your mother met me,” we got to know the mother pretty well. Well enough to learn that she had already met what she believed was her one, great love – Max – who died suddenly on her 21st birthday. We watched the mother stay closed up for many years that followed, not moving forward, like she later told Ted to do. We watched the mother struggle mightily to open herself up to the possibility of a future – of love – with someone besides Max. (Did anyone manage to not cry while the mother said her last goodbye to heaven-dwelling Max, asking permission to move on?)
The mother’s last goodbye to Max took about a minute of screen time. Ted’s last goodbye to the mother lasted 9 seasons. I’m betting it wasn’t coincidence that Ted chose to begin his story not just on the day he met Robin, but on the day his late wife lost the first love of her life.
The mother wasn’t Ted’s consolation prize when he couldn’t get Robin.
Sometimes the person you love – the person you love more than anything, more than anyone – doesn’t love you back. Maybe they move away. Maybe they die. You have to move on. And you do. And sometimes you meet another person, who you love, more than anyone or anything. I don’t believe in soul mates. If we’re lucky, we get to spend most of our life with one person. Some people have a few great loves in their lifetime. Ted loved Robin. She was a great love of his life. But Ted had to move on. He did, and he met Tracy, the mother of his children. A great, great love of a huge chunk of his life. And he loved her with all that he had for as long as he could. She died, Ted grieved. And, wouldn’t you know, life led him back to another person he could love with all that he had for as long as he could. That’s life – that’s the beauty (and the pain) of it.
HIMYM has always done a good job of portraying some of the major joys and heartaches of life. Why are we so surprised they did this up until the very, very end?
Thanks HIMYM. It was a major pleasure.