I'll post my actual essay later, much edited and revised (Thanks, Amy! You are awesome!) but it's important to say how it went first.
I wrote another essay that was more specifically about my mother and what I feel are the most wonderful and lasting impacts of her mothering. Then I found out she had been admitted into hospital for severe anemia. In the hospital, she received 2 bags of blood and, the next day, a bag of iron which made her break out into an itchy bright red rash. When they gave her Benadryl, her body went into convulsive spasms.
When I heard that, I booked a flight. Later we learned from several different sources that the iron was most likely pushed too quickly. She's been to a few hematologists, and switched her GP and GI doctors to new people who looked deeply enough to discover her non-cancerous duodenal tumor.
At the date of publishing, all I know is that she has seen or talked to several surgeons who agree that she needs to have it removed ASAP, but won't do it. So it's a bit tricky. Mom feels relieved to have a diagnosis, but it's weird knowing there's this thing inside of her that doesn't belong, is hurting her and she has to be on a quest to find someone to take it all away.
So, while I gave my speech in church, my mother lay in hospital and all I wanted was to be there hugging her. I cried on my way to the church, I cried with my reverend before the service, and later when I read her my essay. She loved it, by the way.