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Stroke survivor recalls near-death experience, seeing Nazarene, getting well

/ 09:30 PM January 09, 2020

A shower of multicolored confetti greets the statue of the Black Nazarene during the traslacion at C.M. Recto Avenue on Thursday morning (Jan. 9). Thousands of devotees joined the procession in honor of the Black Nazarene. (Jigger J. Jerusalem, Inquirer Mindanao)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—A near-death experience brought Eduardo Hapson, 62, close to the Black Nazarene—at his hospital bed, following a deadly stroke, Hapson saw bright light, an elderly man with dark skin and long hair on the bed beside his. Only that Hapson was alone in his hospital room.

Hapson, of the town of Sumilao, Bukidnon province has since been faithfully attending rites for the Nazarene at the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral here which an image of the religious icon visits every Jan. 9.

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As the Nazarene image was brought out of the cathedral for the traslacion, or procession, Hapson was among at least 250,000 devotees who accompanied the image as it snaked through the city’s main streets to its home at the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Black Nazarene, or the Nazareno Church to locals.

Being at the traslacion has become an annual ritual for Hapson who has not stopped saying thank you to the Nazarene for his second life.

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“Your faith is very important,” Hapson said. “No matter how much you wipe your handkerchief, if you lack faith, nothing will happen. Your faith is what will heal you,” he said.

Hapson is talking from experience. In October 2014, he suffered what could have been a fatal stroke.

He slid into comatose and was told he had as much as 12 days to live. “In those 12 days, I was in a coma for nine days. My chance for survival was very slim,” he recalled.

He had to hop from one hospital to another, in search of a cure. His last was at a hospital in Davao City where he was recommended for surgery for aneurysm, a highly lethal blockage of the vessels.

On the 10th day, Hapson said he woke up at 4 a.m. to bright light illuminating the entire room.

“It was very bright. Then I saw an old man lying on a bed next to mine. He had dark skin and long hair,” he said.

Hapson also remembered that there were two women who kept watch over the old man. The old man told the women to give the other patient, Hapson, fruits, Hapson recalled.

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“I only stayed in Davao for two days as the doctors no longer performed an operation on my head because they did not see any sign of aneurysm,” he added.

Upon arriving home, Hapson asked his wife if she knew the patient that he shared a room with only to be told he was the lone patient there.

“It was then I realized that it was a vision and that the Black Nazarene appeared to me. Since that day, I promised to serve him more as I owed my second chance at life to him,” Hapson said.

When he has fully recovered, Hapson said he has not missed the traslacion and after the feast’s observance here, he borrows the image and brings it to Sumilao where he organizes devotional gatherings for the Black Nazarene.

The Nazarene image here was donated by the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila to the Nazareno Church in 2009.

Hapson said more and more people have become devotees of the Black Nazarene not just in his village of San Vicente but in the neighboring villages in Sumilao.

Hapson vowed to never tire serving the Black Nazarene as long he lives.

“He extended my life. In return I must serve him and share my faith with others,” he added.

Edited by TSB

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