And they lived happily ever after.
Well, most of them did.
If you had "mother's dead" in the "How I Met Your Mother" series finale bracket, give yourself a pat on the back: The Internet was right. By the time the father's long, long, long story came to an end Monday night in an hourlong finale, the woman Ted (Josh Radnor) spent nine seasons trying to meet -- played by Cherry Hill's Cristin Milioti -- had been dead six years of an unspecified, "Love Story"-like illness that left her looking as beautiful as ever.
And it looked very much as if Robin (Cobie Smulders) would be Mrs. Ted No. 2.
As someone who'd never really wanted to meet the woman who'd turn Radnor into Bob Saget (the Philly native who was the voice of the older Ted for all these years) but who was more charmed by Milioti than by anything else about Season 9, my hopes weren't particularly high for the finale, and I wasn't as disappointed as some on Twitter seemed to be during the East Coast airing.
But I wasn't wowed, either.
If there were fans who really believed nine seasons wasn't enough, the finale filled in several seasons worth of future blanks, from the, er, conscious uncoupling of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin after three hectic years of marriage to the judgeship that finally came to Marshall (Jason Segel) as well as the third pregnancy of Lily (Alyson Hannigan).
Barney becoming the father of a baby girl -- the love of his life, at last -- yielded what felt like a genuine moment, though the woman who gave birth to Barney's baby didn't seem to rate a name, only a number.
As for Milioti's character, Tracy, she gets to live on in idealized form -- Ted claims to have cherished every moment they spent together, even when she fell ill-- and joins a line of dead sitcom moms that's decades longer than Barney and Robin's wedding.