As we know, Cathy Guisewite’s strip Cathy had the main character deal with impediments to her happiness that she referred to as the four main guilt groups which she referred to as food, work, love and Mom. The reason that I mention this is that not only was she about to add ‘kid’ to the list because the last strip had her unborn daughter scream AAAAACK!!!! in disgusted outrage, it seems obvious as all Hell to yours truly that there’s only really one source of guilt: the well-intentioned but ultimately destructive mother who brainleslly aided and abetted her anoxeric ideation and unwittingly made her feel as if she could never measure up romantically to her parents and actively made her feel guilty about having a career that somehow threatened a husband’s manhood. My gut says that the oblivious old doll would have somehow stuck her stupid nose into the proceedings and cut her kid off at the knees for her own good.
The reason that I mention this is that Elly Patterson is weeks away from entering a world of guilt Cathy Hillman has yet to encounter: dealing with a dead person. It bothers Elly that she was too damned busy to afford Mrs Baird the solicitude in life that she lavished on her after she died so she’s sort of one-up on someone who hasn’t had anyone die on her during the run of the strip. Given theat Guisewite seems to be slightly more ratiomal, self-aware and humane than Johnston, any sort of character death arc would be somewhat less treacly and not involve having personal angels now. What we’d get is an unhappy woman in her early forties sighing because life isn’t like television because you don’t get easy resolutions or deathbed anything.