When Celine Dion steps on stage and opens her mouth just slightly to sing one angelic note, that in itself is enough to move you to tears. Now take her off of the stage and place her in the very real actualities of her life, and she will softly open up about her dying husband and his final wishes to pass in her arms. It is heart-wrenchingly sob worthy and hits you in the chest harder than any note she can possibly hit, but he is her motivation to return back to her stage after a year-long hiatus.
Dion and her husband René Angelil have a very long and intimate history together, as they met when Dion was only 12 years old, eventually becoming her manager and marrying her in 1994. She describes him as the only boyfriend she has ever had and sadly their journey together is coming to a close. Angelil has been battling throat cancer for some time now and for the last two years has been fed intravenously. Naturally, Dion put her career on hold to care for her ailing husband, whom has one request that could break hearts of stone.
He wants to die in the arms of the woman he loves, to which Dion responds “Okay, fine. I’ll be there. You’ll die in my arms.” However, as much as he always wants her close to him, Angelil can’t easily stomach the thought of his wife and artist, not being on stage and doing what she loves—touching the lives of everyone listening to her voice.
René really gave me a gift,” Dion told USA Today. “All my grieving, it was during this last year. I think I’ve got this. For now. When it hits me, it’s going to hit me. But my biggest job is to tell my husband, we’re fine. I’ll take care of our kids. You’ll watch us from another spot.”
Love can touch us one time
And last for a lifetime
And never let go till we’re gone
Love was when I loved you
One true time I hold to
In my life we’ll always go on
It as is if the words to this song were not written for a fictional love story between Jack and Rose, but for Dion and Angelil. They have been given new life, and one can only imagine if Dion will even include it in her next show.
Dion will be returning to Las Vegas on August 27 for another extended showing, but it is definitely not going to be easy, especially since she’s unsure if her husband will be able to attend. Although, he will certainly be watching a live feed of her opening night from their home. Dion admitted through teary eyes that it would be difficult and emotional to step back on stage, but it won’t stop her.
“You can have your shaking knees at the end, but when someone you love falls and needs help, it’s not time to cry,” she says. “Afterwards, sure. But not yet.”
The couple have three children together: a 14-year old boy named after his father, René-Charles, and 4-year-old twin boys, Nelson and Eddy. There is no specific time table for when Angelil will pass, but through Dion’s words we know he will forever be safe in her heart.