If you’re dealing with the loss of a friend or family member, there are websites that can help. You can write down your feelings and also meet others who are going through the same thing. That’s what the website WouldHaveSaid.com is all about. Last year when actress Natasha Richardson was killed in a skiing accident, 24-year-old Jackie Hooper was stunned. Though she didn’t know much about Natasha Richardson, Hooper told CNN .com she was overcome with thoughts of sudden death and things left unsaid – like what would Richardson’s family have wanted to say to her? Hooper said it gave her the idea to start WouldHaveSaid.com.

It’s just one of a bunch of forums people can use to share their memories and stories about a loved one who’s passed. The American Counseling Association says that’s one of the most important things someone who’s grieving can do. Telling their story of loss over and over allows the reality of the situation to set in. It’s like writing open letters that you never mail, which has been used in therapy for years. Another benefit of these websites is the chance to meet other people who can help you heal. The forum WebHealing.com allowed a group of mothers to meet. Each of them had lost a child.

You’ve got to be careful about the info you post online, even on websites like these. Why? Because people who are dealing with a death are vulnerable. Keren Humphrey from the American Counseling Association says predators look for vulnerable people online so they can take advantage of them. It’s like when thieves read obituaries so they can find a house to rob while people are at a funeral. Before you post, Humphrey says:

  • First, find out who’s sponsoring a grief website. Does it have advertisers? Is it selling a product or a religion? Take these things into account.
  • Also, tell a friend or family member that you plan to write an online note to grieve. That way they check out the site and make sure you’re not oversharing personal information on the Internet.

Some sites Humphrey says she trusts are CompassionateFriends.org and Parents of Murdered Children – or POMC.org.