"I don't have my husband next to me, but he's within me," the singer says

By Kara Warner
June 08, 2017 02:16 PM

Céline Dion‘s beloved husband René Angélil died last January, but the singer still finds ways to celebrate his memory every day.

“I don’t have my husband next to me, but he’s within me, so nothing has really changed,” Dion tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I see him through the eyes of my children every day. My husband is everywhere.”

Dion still involves her husband in major decisions by consulting his photographs for guidance.

For example, when “I make changes, I have to see a picture of him and I talk to him,” the singer says. “I say, ‘I’m not trying to redo some of the things that maybe you’ve done. We’ve tried them and I’m pretty comfortable with it, so are you okay with that? If you’re not, give me a little sign or something.'”

For much more about Céline Dion, her career and her life now as a single mom, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Recently, Dion was asked to record a new song for Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast (now available on DVD and Blu-ray). The Canadian singer admits she hesitated only slightly in making her decision because she was doing so without Angélil, and he had encouraged her to record the duet for the 1991 animated original film which helped launch her career in the United States.

“It’s a classic that will be with me for the rest of my life,” she says. “And now my husband is not there and I was looking for him to help me to make the decision. And then I said, ‘I have nothing to lose,’ because these people – the casting directors, the songwriters, the producers, everyone — they are the family that were there 25 years ago and I think René would have said yes also.”

Denise Truscello

When it comes to celebrating her husband’s memory with her three sons, René-Charles, 16, and twins Eddy and Nelson, 6, Dion says they focus on all their favorite things about Angélil.

“We’re not not looking at pictures because it’s going to bring sadness,” she says. “We look at him and we laugh and we have a good time. Even my oldest, he imitates his dad and [it’s as though Angélil] is in the house with us.”

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Dion adds: “It’s just a new way of living without your husband. And it takes time, we’re coping very well,” she says. “It’s like I’m a duo. I’m always going to be Céline and René and I don’t want that to ever change.”