Thanks for all your kind and comforting words. I just got off the phone with my mother. We traded funny cat stories. She believes tears of laughter heal grief better than tears of sadness. (She's always been smarter than me, but don't tell her I said that
I remembered that Paddles would not allow me to wear ear plugs of any kind. I used to use them to sleep because it was noisy outside our apartment in the mornings.
He would snuffle loudly at my ear, and pluck the ear plug out with his teeth. When I rolled over, he'd get the other one. Then he'd take them in the kitchen and bat them under the fridge so I couldn't get them back.
He relieved me of a dozen pairs before I gave up trying. His reason for doing that was unknowable, due to the inscrutability of cats, but I still wonder why no ear plugs were allowed.
Thank you again.