I didn't come last year, as the beach was the place I spent the most time with my mother, and she died suddenly last March. I spent most of our time together with her here over the last ten years or so, and I couldn't bear the idea of being at the beach without Mom. I came down this year with mixed feelings - I love being here, but wasn't sure if I would be able to do so without making myself sadder about my Mom's passing. After some initial sadness (I feel I will always miss her, here more than ever) I am ok with being here without her.
One of my Mom's hobbies was bird watching. She wasn't a fully-fledged (pun intended) bird geek, but she knew a ton about birds, and had a long life list. I remember as a child sitting in the living room as she played records of bird songs so she could learn to identify them. After she died I started a life list of my own, as a sort of tribute. I'm not rabid about it, but I'm having fun with it, and being here at the beach has given me lots of new species to add to my list. I like to think she'd approve.