After reading what Marcia said, I have to agree, sometimes as they age, they do get more likely to want to curl into a lap, like my Beep. She has always loved my husband, but not necessarily been in his lap, just near him, but now, the last year especially, it's the lap every time. I think it's because she hates being cold, partly. And as it gets chillier, she is more likely to want someone to snuggle up to closer. She is really funny, she will get onto my daughter's chest and lay there if she is laying down flat, but she only does this to her really. On cold mornings sometimes, my husband will wake up and if he is sleeping on his side, she is laying on his hip, or his back or his chest, depending on how she is laying, she is there. I just left my room and she is curled up right next to his side right now.
I can imagine how you must be missing having that velcro kitty to love, and you are still heartbroken from losing him
I have read before that sometimes if you get a cat when it is a kitten, and get used to handling it, even while it is still with it's mom and hasn't left her yet, that you have a better chance at having a cat that is going to be a snuggler and used to being held and handled. And from what i have observed, people who get kittens that are from a situation like that, where they have been held a lot, they do seem to be more likely to sit on your lap and be held. Somtimes I pick up my least snuggly kitty, my avatar picture, Taffy....he is actually really, really sweet, but not a lap cat at all, I pick him up though and kiss him and say "you will be snuggled and you will like it!"