Movie Reviews

How I Met Your Mother: All The Clues To The Mother’s Death

Much of the mystery looming over How I Met Your Mother during its nine-year run was the identity of the Mother, but the series threw viewers another curveball at the very end by revealing the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death. However, when looking back, there were actually a number of clues hinting at the character’s grim fate. The writers of How I Met Your Mother were masters when it came to clever clues and hidden Easter eggs that called back previous moments in the series. At times there were also moments of foreshadowing that many viewers didn’t pick up on until multiple viewings of the series. The Mother’s name, for example, was actually revealed in the show’s debut season. Ted was telling his kids about meeting a stripper named Tracy and claimed that was how he met their mother before claiming that he was joking.

Later in the series, the Mother’s name was revealed to be Tracy McConnell. As time went on with How I Met Your Mother, loyal viewers started to speculate about the impending How I Met Your Mother Tracy death. There were a number of theories correctly predicting Tracy was dead, and that her passing is why Ted was telling his kids the story alone in the future. Sure enough, Tracy passed away. Since HIMYM ended in 2014, the series has maintained its popular sitcom status. The show is so beloved, in fact, that it spawned a spinoff, How I Met Your Father, starring Hilary Duff. How I Met Your Father aired in 2022, and is already in its second season, so there’s no better time to look back on the original mystery parent of the show that started it all. Here are all the hints that alluded to the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death.

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It’s unfortunate that the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death had to happen at all, as it meant HIMYM took viewers on an 9 season journey only to have Ted end up with Robin in the end anyway. To have so much buildup surrounding a character’s identity, only to have them die, was a huge letdown. Regardless, news of Tracy’s death became available to viewers in the How I Met Your Mother series finale, “Last Forever – Part 2.” In the episode, it’s revealed that Tracy dies of an unspecified illness. Ted finally finishes the story of how he met their mother in 2030, and it’s disclosed that Tracy died six years earlier, in 2024.

Keeping the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death in mind, what’s made even worse is that her actual name is revealed in the same episode that she’s revealed to have passed away. What this means for Ted as a character, however, is that he’s forced to raise two teenagers on his own. The revelation of Tracy’s passing makes Ted’s arc more tragic, as the HIMYM sets him up to be looking for his one true love, only to have her taken away from him too soon. Ted going back to Robin in the end also left a sour taste in audiences’ mouths, as the series had spent its entire run on the build-up to meeting the infamous Mother, only to have her die and Ted land back in Robin’s arms. Still, the controversial moment wasn’t unexpected — to the writer’s credit, the hints were there all along. Below is every clue that the Mother, Tracy, was dead by the future timeline in How I Met Your Mother.

Over the nine seasons of How I Met Your Mother, Future Ted narrated the series as he told his children the story of how he met Tracy. As many viewers have noticed, the mysterious Mother character was always referred to in the past tense, alluding to the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death. This helped fuel the fire regarding the theories that the Mother was dead by the time Ted started his grand story. The series also relied on interweaving different timelines including flashbacks and flash-forwards. Not one of the flash-forward sequences involved Tracy. Even if they wanted to keep her identity a secret, there would have been ways to feature her presence without giving away too much. This never seemed to bode well with those hoping the Mother was alive and well.

The first hint regarding the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death came during the penultimate episode of How I Met Your Mother season 1. After visiting a matchmaking service, Love Solutions, Ted was finally contacted that he had been matched with the “perfect woman. In the end, Ted decided not to meet the woman since he wanted to get Robin back. Despite not meeting her, details from the match’s file were revealed. One particular detail stated that her favorite book was Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. The plot of the book would go on to foreshadow the future situation between Ted, Tracy, and Robin.

Related: What Happened To How I Met Your Mother’s Supporting Cast

Ted was seen reading the book on multiple occasions. He was even reading the book while sitting at the Farhampton Train Station when he first met Tracy. The book focused on a young couple in love who eventually grew apart. One of them went on and married, but after the spouse passed away, the original couple found their way back together. This eerily mirrored what happened between Ted and Robin years after Tracy passed away from an undisclosed illness.

The next indisputable clue surrounding the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death didn’t come until How I Met Your Mother season 7. In the episode titled “Tailgate,” Marshall carried on the tradition of tailgating on New Year’s Day with his father. Marvin Sr. passed away the year before so Marshall set up the tailgate at his father’s grave. More and more people arrive and Marshall allowed them to join in on the tradition. While at the grave site, there was a gravestone nearby that simply read “Mother.” The word is not uncommon on a gravestone but with no other name listed, it sure seemed like this was a well-planned hint at what was to come.

The Farhampton Train Station came into focus during the How I Met Your Mother season 8 premiere, further alluding to the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death. It began with Ted sitting on the platform after Robin and Barney’s wedding reception. He then backtracked and explained a story involving Victoria and how a conversation at the same station made him realize that he was still on the search for “The One.” Back to Ted’s primary timeline, Tracy emerged from a taxi and stood on a platform a few feet away. Although viewers couldn’t see her face, this was just moments before Ted and Tracy officially met. During the scene depicting the pair in their final moments of being strangers, the song “The Funeral” from Band of Horses was playing. This song was purposely chosen as a connection to the Mother’s fate unveiled in the series finale.

During the HIMYM season 8 episode, “The Time Travelers”, future versions of Ted and Barney tried to convince Ted to go to Robots Versus Wrestlers. While telling the story to his kids, Ted realized that it had been twenty years since that night. Ted wished that he could relive that night but instead of debating about seeing Robots Versus Wrestlers, he wanted the chance to have extra days with Tracy before the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death. He imagined himself running to Tracy’s apartment and telling her that they will meet in 45 days. Ted claimed that he would do anything to have those extra 45 days with her, foreshadowing that their time together is eventually cut short.

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A song playing in that episode also provided evidence of the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death. It featured “If You See Her, Say Hello” by Bob Dylan. The song is about losing a loved one and includes the message about not wasting time. This alluded to how Ted was feeling when looking back at his life in the time leading up to his initial meeting with Tracy.

The biggest clue foreshadowing the How I Met Your Mother Tracy death took place just a few episodes before the How I Met Your Mother series finale. In “Vesuvius,” Ted and Tracy were shown having dinner at the Farhampton Inn in the year 2024. They realized that they had turned into an “old married couple” because they know all of each other’s stories. Ted then remembered a story about Robin’s lack of anxiety on her own wedding day. The story ended with Robin Scherbatsky’s mother showing up to attend the wedding, a complete surprise to everyone. Tracy questioned why that would be a surprise while stating “what mother is going to miss her daughter’s wedding?” before Ted got choked up.

This statement greatly affected Ted, and he was overcome with visible emotion. Tracy quickly noticed that what she said upset her husband, so they changed the subject. It was assumed that Ted was already well aware of Tracy’s illness at this point and the notion that his wife not being around when their kids got older was unbearable. Of course, this sadly became true as Tracy passed away well before her daughter ever had the chance to get married.

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