How I Met Your Mother

Ron P. Jaffe/ CBS

This one's gonna hurt.

How I Met Your Mother's series finale is almost here and to be totally honest, we're not ready for it. It's a love story that has been 208 episodes in the making, spanning over 25 years filled with countless shenanigans, heartfelt moments and an array of need-to-know questions. And now that the final hour is almost upon us, it's time to give a tear-filled goodbye to one of our favorite casts in TV history.

We know that many of you, like us, are desperately ready to discover the answer to the series' titular mystery: How does Ted meet the Mother?! In addition, we need to know the truth to some theories that we really hope are wrong about, and brace ourselves for some Kleenex-mandatory moments.

To help prepare you for the end, HIMYM's co-creator, (and keeper of all the secrets!) Carter Bays took the time to answer some of our biggest burning questions, and we're giving you all the goods! Read on for exclusive scoop on the craziest theories, whether or not the cockamouse will live on, and the "fond farewell" in the final episode.

Although this is the end of an era, Bays is thrilled that some of HIMYM's most iconic catchphrases and inside jokes will continue to live on with the fans. "It's very cool to think we've contributed to the vernacular in some small way," the showrunner revealed. "That being said, I'm pretty excited to never write the word 'legendary' in a script ever again!" And we are excited to keep that word alive for all of eternity. So there.

Over the past nine seasons, our McLaren's Pub-loving gang has introduced us to some of the most creative and true-to-life elements that we never knew we needed. (Come on, we've all encountered a blitz, a manatee, or debated if someone is a rabbit or a duck—We just didn't know what to call them!) Bays admitted that out of all the one-of-a-kind creations that the series has featured, there is one that will always be his favorite.

"I really love the Cockamouse," he said. "I like that among the questionably-true elements of this long crazy story, there's this mythological creature that may or may not exist." Bays adds, "And by the way, it's completely drawn from life. One of our writers actually saw this animal, and nobody knows what it was."

How I Met Your Mother

Ron P. Jaffe/Fox

As Ted's long-winded tale comes to a close, we're both thrilled and anxious to discover which of the thousands of HIMYM theories have been correct. We haven't speculated about a series this much since Lost was on the air—and this is supposed to be a comedy!

Bays explained that they never intended for the How I Met Your Mother fandom to obsessively create so many hypotheses about the series' end. "I don't know if we set out to do it, but it has definitely been interesting walking around for nine years with all these secrets in our heads," he remarked.

As for his favorite, most off-the-wall theory? The executive producer explained, "I've always enjoyed the theory that the world of 2030 is a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Like where the Narrator says, 'Marshall and Lily got married under this beautiful tree,' and then the kids are like, 'What's a tree?' and the Narrator just starts sobbing." BRB, planning a HIMYM meets Walking Dead spinoff.

But…umm, in all seriousness, we're preparing for Monday's finale with bittersweet emotion. We've already stocked up on bottles of Glen McKenna and boxes of tissues, as we get ready to say goodbye to five of the most dynamic and multi-faceted characters we've ever encountered.

When asked what he hopes fans will take away from How I Met Your Mother's series finale, Bays' response was short, but oh-so sweet: "I hope people feel the love that went into making not just this finale, but this entire series," he said. "This is the ending we've been writing toward from the beginning. There will be laughs and tears along the way, but ultimately it's a very fond farewell."

Not to worry, HIMYM fans, we're all in this together. To quote to awesome words of Mr. Barney Stinson, whenever you start feeling sad, just stop being sad and be awesome instead. (High five!)

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