I cannot take back the shock I felt at luncheon yesterday when you announced your plans to leave Boston. I cannot take back the first impression it gave me when Miss Smith explained her intention to support your medical education.
It is difficult for a young person to understand the grief of a parent who, even when proud of a child’s accomplishments, must lose a certain intimacy with that child and give way for the larger world. Perhaps you will never quite understand this, Sophia, if you have no children of your own. But however I grieve at the thought of your going so far from all you have held dear in your young life, know that I am proud of you as well.
When I imagined you a grown woman, I never imagined someone like Miss Smith as your friend, and I have spent many hours in worry for your well being, since learning of your devotion to her. But I see that you will not relent in your intention to stay by her side and I have no choice but to accept this.
If Miss Smith keeps her word about supporting you at the medical college in Paris, I cannot but thank her in the humblest way, for doing something for my only child I could not do myself. I find that I must trust in the good judgment and faith your father and I have tried to pass onto you and believe in Miss Smith for your sake.
I will not pretend that this is what I would have chosen for you. I cannot say I do not hope that your life will lead you—for all happy reasons—back to Boston and the people who have loved you since your birth. But wherever life takes you, dearest child, may God go with you and bless you there.
Olivia Beales Abington