Begin like this:
It wasn't a dream. The footprint in the hallway was real. The rubber glove in the driveway was real.
Or begin with my mother screaming at 1:00 a.m.
Or after we tuck her into bed, home from the hospital at 6:00 a.m. Or begin when the ER doctor tells me he's sending her home because nothing is wrong and I mutter something I am too chagrined to see in print here.
Or begin yesterday when I walked on the beach (thanks to the man who loves me and his caregiving of my mother) and forget everything else because it's over, and we're back in our never-a-routine-for-long routine. Or begin with the dead fish on the sand, the birds plucking out the parts they like best--or the dead sea lion.
Or begin with laughter. "Like kittens on opiates," the man who loves me says the day before yesterday as he and my mother and I straggle into the car. Wheelchair in. Wheelchair out. Repeat. Repeat.
Begin with the word hospice. Then, no--unsay it because the doctor and my mom and I all agreed to start with in-home nursing care.
Begin right now. Because everything seems like a beginning to me.