Family and friends are using Facebook to create a living record of Christian William Boyens M.D, a beloved Kailua medical doctor who serves as chair of Castle Medical Center’s family practice department.
The 45-year-old Hartford, Connecticut, who relocated to Waimanalo, died suddenly while on January 16 a ski trip in Whistler, Canada leaving behind his wife, Krista M. Boyens, their son, Christian Joseph “CJ”, who is 17 months old, as well as his parents William and Dorothy Boyens and several other family members.
Hours after his death was announced, his Facebook page filled with postings from friends, family and patients who made a commitment to post every 15 minutes to support his wife and share memories and stories for his young son. Friends and family continued to post personal messages as if they are still there.
“I love this trend,” says Daniela Stolfi-Tow, former patient and owner of BOSS Hawaii Web Group. I think it is comforting for loved ones and is very healing. People can say the things they want to say, share the stories, connect with others. Its a positive experience and a wonderful to memorialize loved ones for many years to come.”
But perhaps the most remarkable of the posts, Stolfi-Tow said, was the page created for his new baby son CJ called “Remembering my dad.” Friends and family post messages to CJ, that will be printed and given to him a little at at time each year of his life as he grows up.
Michael Lawson wrote: “I would like to encourage everyone who sees this post to tag your photos of Christian, and share your stories of him here for CJ and my sister. It’s up to us now to make sure CJ knows how wonderful his father was, and what he meant to us.”
Stolfi-Tow, an expert in social media, said understandably not all those who lose loved ones might want to keep the pages up and Facebook does honor requests from close family members to deactivate the account of someone who has passed away and offers a Memorial Status.
She said memorializing the page as was done with the doctor’s Facebook protects the profile from hacking and restricts it to be only searchable by friends. This way the profile can stay up so friends and family can share photos and stories for as long as they wish and not have to worry.
Boyens’ memorial services is Wednesday morning beginning at 10 a.m. at Hawaii Memorial Cemetery. Colleagues and friends have started a fund to help provide for his son CJ. More information can be found on www.drboyens.com