Celine Dion on losing her husband: ‘You have to let people go. I feel at peace’

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Céline Dion covers this week’s People magazine. As you know, Celine lost her husband, René Angélil, to throat cancer in January. Céline has since gone back to Las Vegas to perform in Céline, her three-year residency at Ceasars’ The Colosseum. Even though she lost the love of her life, Céline says her priority is to stay strong for her kids, which means she has to keep moving forward. As evidence of this, she has chosen Queen’s The Show Must Go On to perform this Sunday at the Billboard Awards where she will receive the Icon Award.

It’s been four months since Céline Dion lost “the love of [her] life” René Angélil to throat cancer at age 73.

Though she’s dealing with unimaginable heartbreak, the singer tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story, “I really, really want to prove to my kids their mother is strong.” For Dion, work has become her safe haven. She’ll be taking the stage at Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards to receive the Icon award and performing a cover of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On,” a song title that had a strong significance in the couple’s romance and work relationship.

“René always insisted the show must go on,” the mother of three says. “You know what, I’m 48 years old and I lost the love of my life. I miss him a lot from when he was great but not when he was suffering. I cannot be selfish. You have to let people go. I feel at peace.”

[From People]

I really like Céline. I said the last time I talked about her that she lives her life like an open book and I am the same way; lay it all out there, the good, the bad and the ugly. I completely relate to moving forward if there is nothing else you can do. Céline applied this mentality when she had the difficult task of telling her sons of their father’s passing. Céline explained on Good Morning America that she referenced the Disney movie Up, “The only thing I wanted is for them to say up, Up is a good thing. Up is uplifting.”

Also in her GMA interview, airing this morning and her first since René’s death, she explained how she stayed with René’s body after he had passed away.

The “My Heart Will Go On” singer revealed she lay with Angélil in bed after he passed away, even putting a robe on Angélil, who was also her manager the father of her three sons.

“You were worrying for my career. You were worrying for the children. You were worrying for everything. It’s enough. Do you trust me? Please do. Trust me,” Dion recalled saying. “The kids are fine. I’m fine. I promise you we’re gonna be OK. Please leave in peace. I don’t want you to worry.”

[From ABC News]

I think it’s beautiful that, in her deepest hour of grief, she was selfless enough to assure his parting soul to ‘go on peacefully, I have this covered.’ I am sure Céline and her boys will rejoice in their memories and continue to move forward in René’s spirit.

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Photo credit: WENN Photos, People and Getty Images

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26 Responses to “Celine Dion on losing her husband: ‘You have to let people go. I feel at peace’”

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  1. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I could only hope to be so brave in those circumstances. I have always wondered how friends I know have told their husbands to let go when they were dying. I’m afraid I would be crying and begging my husband not to leave me. I suppose it depends on the circumstances. I couldn’t bear to watch him suffer. Anyway, I love her and I hope she has peace and finds a new life for herself and her sons. She’s a remarkable woman.

    • LadyMTL says:

      My stepfather died of brain cancer quite a while ago, but I still remember my mom telling me how he passed on. He had been in a palliative care ward for about 10 days and just kept hanging in there (he was in a coma) and one day my mom and two of his sisters sat right by the bed and said “it’s okay, you don’t have to fight anymore. You can let go and be at peace.” No joke, maybe five minutes later he died.

      I don’t know if I could have done something like that, but I think it’s like you said…they just couldn’t watch him suffer any more. It sounds like Céline did something similar, and I think she’s one heck of a strong woman.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        That made me cry. Your mother was so brave. My aunt did the same with her husband. They had been married over 50 years in a very traditional marriage and she believed he was afraid to leave her. She told him she loved him, and she would be ok, and to let go. He died within the hour.

    • Jen43 says:

      If someone you loved were suffering, you would want them to be at peace. My dad died of cancer 18 months ago. At the very end you just reach a point where hanging on is not good for anyone. You learn to accept it. I think it helps if the person is of a certain age and you knew it was coming. The worst must be the deaths that are sudden and completely pull the carpet out from under your feet. I hope I never experience that.

    • swak says:

      They say children won’t die until the parents are ready. So, I believe loved ones want to make sure everyone is okay before they leave this world. The night my mom died, I was taking my oldest one home from the nursing home (she didn’t want to be around when she died as she saw her best friend die from cancer at 22) when she passed away. My other daughters believe she waited until I was gone to pass on. GNAT, I believe you are a strong woman and you’ll be strong when that time comes.

    • bluhare says:

      I told my dad it was OK for him to go. My mom couldn’t. She didn’t want any mention of the fact that he was dying. So I whispered it in his ear.

    • sherry says:

      When my mother was in the hospital dying from kidney failure, she was in a coma and I told her, “I love you and it’s okay if you’re ready to let go and be with Jesus. I’ll take care of Daddy, so you don’t need to worry about him. It’s okay. We’re okay. You have been the best mother in the world and I love you.” Even though she never opened her eyes, she squeezed my hand. I know she heard me. As they unplugged the machines, I just kept telling her, “I love you, Mama,” over and over until she let go of her last breath.

      As awful as it was to lose my mother, I was at peace about her passing. When my father died the following year, he passed 15 minutes before I got to the hospital and I still have not gotten over it.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      I told my first husband to let go and that the kids and I would be OK. I honestly thought I would be begging him NOT to go, but he needed to. He needed to end the pain and suffering but he needed to know we would be OK. And we were OK, eventually.

  2. MrsBPitt says:

    Watching a loved one dying of cancer, as I have, you truly do want them to go peacefully, and for the pain and torment to end…I spoke almost the same words to my loved on “We love you, we are okay, you can go now”….Celine is a strong woman and her children are lucky to have her…Cancer sucks…

    • swak says:

      Very true. Any disease in which one wastes away is devastating. Not sure which is worse – cancer or Alzheimer’s. Watched my dad for 3 months waste away from cancer. Prayed the last two weeks of his life for him to pass away as he was in much pain and could not take pain meds because he was in and out of consciousness (mom did not put him in a hospital because she did not want to prolong his life and there were no DNR’s or hospice at the time). Watched my mom with Alzheimer’s, which eventually took her.

      • sara says:

        My dad died from Alzheimer’s in July after 4 years of suffering. My mom was with him every single day and was with him when he died. They were married 44 years and she is absolutely devastated. At the end, he had no idea who we were. It was a terrible death but she did the same thing — she told him he could go and be with his mother (towards the end, before he became non-verbal, he always cried for his mother who died when he was a child). It was heartbreaking. He died a few hours later. I will miss him forever and I hate HATE HATE Alzheimer’s.

      • swak says:

        @sara – so sorry for your loss. The thing that I just hated was watching my mom go from this creative, caring, loving person who was very active all her life to someone who had no idea what was going on. I was the last one she remembered and even that changed at the end when she recognized no one. My mom talked to people who weren’t there, mostly family. It was as hard to watch as watching my father die from cancer. I truly hate both.

      • tschic says:

        My mother had dementia like Alzheimers. We don`t know exactly.
        It was so hard for her loosing her mind and her intelligence. In the end she was in a late second stadium of the dementia. She still remenbered me when I came twice, three times a week, but she started to forget how to chew/swallow.

        one and a half year ago they brought her to the hospital because she couldn`t breathe well. When I came they told me it was everything ok but they couldn`t tell exactly what it was. I should come back tomorrow to bring some clothes and other stuff.
        I spend an hour with her and I was feeling strange. She was kind of unconsious, like really deep sleeping. At some point I took her hand and told her that everthing was ok. My life would be great, I would have a great family and a good job and it would be ok for me if she wanted to go. I don`t know why I told her so – nobody thought she would die.

        Next morning the hospital called me and told me that she was awake half of the night, singing and talking, and when they wanted to wake her up, they found her dead.

  3. Arlene says:

    She’s a very classy lady.

  4. Who ARE these people? says:

    I really like her, too.

    I ‘let go’ of a friend with cancer years ago and am so glad that in our final encounter we made our feelings clear and were honest about what was coming; we knew it was goodbye. There was a great sense of solace and it helps to have that memory.

    GNAT, I know what you mean – it’s impossible to know how you’ll face what seems unendurable and there’s so much pressure to be this way or that about it. Mr Who* and I have had to face a troubling potential over the past year and will be living with that going forward. It can bring out the best, the worst and everything in between. I do like Celine’s attitude though and will tuck her away mentally as one role model.

    *Mr Who! LOL.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Who ARE these people
      Oh, I hope everything is going to be alright for you and Mr. Who. I guess we do what we have to and bear what we have to, but life can be so cruel sometimes. I’ll be thinking of you with love and hope. ❤️

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Thanks GNAT. Me too. Right now the odds seem at the more reassuring end but it could change. It could take a really long time, or not. This could be ‘it’ – or not. You buy time, check insurance, hope that medical science improves by the time it may be needed, and get on with things. As we get older, it seems we just have to get accustomed to living with uncertainty and enjoy the good times – and make more of them. Life can bring all manner of changes and we have to hope our life experience helps us be strong for them because really, I just want to be a wuss.

        I also hope you’re feeling much better yourself. Hearts back (don’t know how to make the symbol).

  5. Donna Martin says:

    Hmmm in don’t know if I see her life as an open book. I think she’s emotional and is open to talk about some of her feelings. I also find her to be very private.

    • Tiffany says:

      Little bit of Column A, little bit of Column B. She is not out doing a daily pap stroll but when asked a question she will answer it.

  6. vanessa says:

    She is so brave.

  7. Miss M says:

    A lesson of Strength and true love. I got a bit teary.

  8. Jedi says:

    The true Queen of Canada. Nothing but love for her.

  9. NorthernGirl_20 says:

    She’s so brave. I hope that I can be so brave – My mother-in-law has been diagnosed with cancer for the third time. This time it’s really not good, she’s full of cancer (her lungs, liver, stomach cavity, cervix and tailbone) .. She’s been through so much already, she had to have a hysterectomy then she lost her spleen and bowels to it .. We are just beginning this journey, she’s starting chemo next week. I’m terrified, this is going to be difficult.

    • jen says:

      My heart goes out to you NorthernGirl_20

      I’m so sad for the road your mom-in-law and your family is embarking on… I’ve held both my mom and aunt’s hands on this sickening journey and I wish I could offer something more than heartfelt wishes that you didn’t have to go through this.

      But your bravery will find its way, in ways you’d never imagine. xo

  10. Kate says:

    I have loved Celine my whole life and have a tremendous amount of respect for her for many reasons. What a great mom.

  11. Amanda G says:

    She is a beautiful woman.