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Evelyn Lancaster, with great-granddaughter Evie, her namesake, at a family gathering in 2013.

I don't believe in ghosts — maybe because I've never seen one.

But something happened a couple weeks ago that shook me to my very core. My late mother communicated with me. I didn't see her. I didn't hear her voice, but her message was loud and clear.

It happened around 10:30 p.m. on a weeknight.

On a very rare occasion, my husband, an attorney, was out-of-town overnight on a case, and our three grandchildren, Tilleigh, 8, Evie, 5, and William, 2, were spending the night with me.

Until recently, the children — and I — slept in one queen-sized bed when they spent the night at our house. Our two bedrooms are on opposite ends of the house, and they've been afraid to sleep without me. No problem, mind you. I'm the queen of snuggling and being surrounded by babies while sleeping has been pure heaven to me.

However, when William outgrew his baby bed several months ago, we became like sardines in a can. I'd sometimes wake up with two sets of feet in my face and a set in my back.

So I bought a blow-up mattress. When the children spent the night (every Wednesday and every other weekend), I'd put the mattress in the living room for them, and I'd sleep on the nearby couch. More often than not, I'd wake up with at least one kid — sometimes three — on the couch with me. They're big snugglers, too.

The problem, though, is that my muscles were sore the next morning because I had been stuck in one position throughout the night.

On this particular night, I couldn't get the children to go to sleep. I had to work the next morning; I was tired. After several times of asking them to settle down and go to sleep, I finally told them I was going to sleep in my own bed. I was in the room next to them with the door open so there was no need for them to be afraid.

Tilleigh and William soon went to sleep, but I heard Evie softly crying. The house was dark except for a nightlight. I was in my bed feeling seriously guilty of leaving them in the living room when I heard Evie say, "I miss my Nannie."

Nannie is my mother, who died July 9, 2014. She was very close to my grandchildren and had spent the last few years of her life babysitting Evie, her namesake (Evelyn), while Tilleigh was in school. Mother had also kept Tilleigh until she started preschool. By the time William was born, Mother was 83, and we all agreed that keeping a baby was too hard on her, so William went to day care.

The girls did, though, spend at least a one night with Mother every week.

As soon as the words "I miss my Nannie" left Evie's lips, the bright ceiling light in my bedroom turned on. The light had not worked in nearly two years. The switch was left in the "on" position because, for a long time, my husband and I, out of habit, kept flipping it on even though it didn't work.

The sudden bright light jarred me. The timing was uncanny. Then, within a heartbeat of the light turning on, without hearing her actual voice, I heard — and felt — my mother telling me, "Get up and go get Evie."

There was no doubt in my mind about the urgent message. I got up immediately and brought Evie back to bed with me. I held my precious little girl, telling her that I missed Nannie, too. Evie put her arms around my neck and was asleep within minutes.

The ceiling light was still on. I got up and flipped the switch off and on, over and over again. The light went on and off, as it should. Now, two weeks later, it's still working.

Logic tells me that a short in the wiring or some other electrical issue had suddenly corrected itself, resulting in the light turning on. My heart tells me it was Mother. If you knew my mother, you'd know she'd tell me in no uncertain terms to get up and get Evie. This is the woman who, at age 84, got up at 3 a.m. one morning to cook Evie scrambled eggs because the child woke up hungry.

The incident was as though I said, "Mother, give me a sign that you're still with me."

The next day I had a goal — buy individual beds for the kids so we would no longer have sleeping issues. I decided to get a trundle bed and a set of bunk beds.

I searched for a trundle bed online, and the first one I saw was exactly what I wanted. I sent the seller a text and within five minutes he called. Turns out, he had been at the newspaper that very morning, talking to a reporter just 10 feet from my desk. I noticed him in the newsroom. He lived less than two miles from my house.

I next searched online for bunk beds, and the first one I saw was exactly what I wanted. The wood matched the trundle bed. I sent the seller a text and within five minutes he contacted me. Turns out, he lived one mile from my mother's house and his nephew is my youngest son's best friend.

Again, I felt like Mother had a hand in making all this come together. It was just too easy.

Two days later, after the ceiling light incident, each grandchild had his or her own bed in my house.

It's funny, I don't have the feeling that she's watching over me, I have a feeling she's watching out for the kids, which is a great comfort to me. Mother's last words were, "I love you, sweetheart. Take care of yourself and take care of the kids."

I've got a very powerful feeling she's helping me do just that.

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396.

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