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YouTube, Facebook memorials may help mourners cope

Only hours after Gary Paulino was killed in a car crash near his home in Copiague, loved ones posted a four-minute slide show on YouTube honoring his memory.

Experts suggest that there is strong evidence that grieving on Web sites such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook is just another way to cope with pain.

"We lead a high-stress, compartmentalized lifestyle," said George Bonnano, professor of education and psychology at Columbia University Teachers College. "So when people produce these memorials online, it makes them feel connected."

Paulino's video features the song "Flowers for the Dead" by Cuban Link, whose lyrics lament the loss of a loved one: "Yeah, this is dedicated to the ones who never made it. I hated the fact you faded away. You were the greatest. So I say this prayer to pay my respects. I'll never forget you cause you special. I'll catch you in my heart. May God bless you."

The video's creator, identified on the site as Blaze59317, did not respond to a request for comment.

At the end of the video, one person posted: "R.I.P. Gary Paulino. Your memories will never fade away. You will not be forgotten."

Dwayne Stewart, 20, of Copiague, who said he grew up with Paulino and played sports with him, was among the mourners who posted a comment. He wrote Paulino is "in a better place now. let god be with you."

Spencer Crooks, a spokesman for YouTube, based in San Bruno, Calif., said memorializing the dead on YouTube has been around for a while.

"Mostly, what we see is people creating these memorial videos, usually with pictures and sometimes with written poems," he said. "It's just a way to share these people's lives with the world, how special they were, and what they meant, in a creative way."

Crooks also said that online memorials allow people who might not be physically near to take part in memorial services, share in the family's grief and pay respects.

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