The problem with the finale wasn’t with the mother dying or Ted and Robin being together in the end, the problem was from the wedding in 2014 to the mother dying in 2024 was covered in an hour. Ted narrates that in that 10 years he loved her with everything he had, in sickness and in health, through all the fights, he loved her those 10 years as much as he could possibly love her. And then he mourns for her for 6 years before even trying to get back out and dating. It just happens so fast in the episode people are just thinking Tracy is just a holding place for Robin, but that’s not how it happened. Listen to what he says in the voice over at the end. And also call back to the emotion he shows in the 45 days more scene last season and the flash forwards to the lighthouse and all those scenes this season with Tracy. She truly was the love of his life and he loved her as long as fate let him. Barney and Robin had 3 years of marriage but it was only 20 minutes from what we see. Marriages last less than 3 years all the time for reasons that the characters break up over in the show. I get building an entire season at a wedding and then in 20 minutes of screen time it’s over is frustrating to the viewer, but it’s not like the divorce was at the reception, it was 3 years down the road. In the end, the story was always about ending up with Robin. If the mother was still alive (or to put it better if Ted was still with her in any way) there would really be no reason to tell the convoluted story the way he did to the kids. The story would literally be ” I ended up with her umbrella after a drunken night in a bar, I dated her roommate coincidentally for a bit and then we met at a wedding.” And then they’d all get into the minivan and go to TGIFridays and that would be it. I personally think that this ending is better than oh we just lived happily ever after, because it gives him a reason for telling so many episodes worth of stories that literally had 0 to do with the mother, with maybe 2 or 3 episodes a year giving details about her. AND I think they did a great job having the kids call Ted out on how 90% of the story had nothing to do with the mom (which most people were probably thinking around season 3 or 4) but 100% of the story involved Robin in one shape or form, including starting with her.