Sharon, you sound sad, this comes from the sensitive understanding of another woman. It is a sad thing that your mentor passed, but you will have mentors here, that will be your strength, to draw on the expertise of our forum friends. You will always have many different methods of beekeeping thrown at you, this is where you will have to make choices about what you want to do with YOUR bees. There will be so many varied answers, draw on the ones that suit best your ideals. This will be your first year of keeping bees and you need to feel comfortable. But as has been said, what goes on depends entirely upon what you want to do with your bees, what type of cell size, etc., etc.
You will firstly get package bees or nucs. That is your first step. And you must decide what you want to do with regard to cell size, etc.
Like Brian said, foundationless is good, but so is HSC. You must feed your bees when you first get them regardless if they are nucs or packages. They need this food until they can begin to grow big to process nectar to honey, and gather lots of pollen. If you don't feed them, they will die.
Sharon, keep asking questions. When you ask questions, clearly and I mean really clearly -- define what your question is. If you don't get an answer that you find suitable, ask again, asking questions is the best way to learn. Hope this may help you a little bit. Have a great and wonderful day, Cindi