Five years after his son Noah was diagnosed with liver cancer, Michael Bublé opens up to PEOPLE about how the experience changed him and why he loves seeing the holidays through his kids' eyes
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Michael Bublé has been through every parent's worst nightmare and come out the other side with a deeper appreciation for life.

The Grammy-winning singer, 46, opens up to PEOPLE in this week's issue about how his 8-year-old son Noah's battle with liver cancer changed him, saying, "I live a much deeper life now."

"I don't wish that kind of pain upon any human being, but I do feel that when you've truly suffered, when you've truly felt fear and loss, it allows you to live a deeper life," says Bublé, who also shares son Elias, 5, and daughter Vida, 3, with wife Luisana Lopilato. "Once you've felt those things, you are able, in context, to truly feel joy, gratitude and happiness."

"My grandpa used to say, 'Today's curse is tomorrow's blessing,'" he continues. "Even though for some of us who have lost so much these last few years, whether it's our jobs or our loved ones, it doesn't all come with negative connotations. There's always a silver lining to that cloud."

During an interview with Australia's Today Show last October, Bublé described the ordeal as "the worst possible thing that you could hear as a parent, and as maybe a human being," adding, "I much rather would have it have been me. Many times I wish that it had been."

Michael Buble/Instagram
Michael Bublé and family
| Credit: Michael Buble/Instagram

Still, he tells PEOPLE the ordeal led to a fundamental shift in how he approaches life, which has had its upsides. "Going through what I went through with my son, I really opened myself up to the universe and I never said no. I just kept saying yes," explains Bublé, 46.

Part of saying yes has been Bublé's ongoing collaboration with sparkling water brand bubly. The two started working together back in 2019 and have just launched "merry berry bublé" — a limited-edition, triple berry holiday flavor available to a lucky number of fans through a new sweepstakes running through Dec. 8.

The "Home" singer also has a new NBC special coming (Michael Bublé's Christmas in the City, out Dec. 6) and his chart-topping album Christmas is marking its 10th anniversary with a deluxe re-issue (out now).

"It's not about selling stuff," he says. "Listen, I don't need to sell anymore stuff It's just, a lot of these holiday songs — classics like 'White Christmas' and 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' — they were written when we were at war, a really heavy time for humanity. And in a way, we've been at war with COVID for the last couple years. We've lost a lot. Even the strongest of us have become far more aware of how vulnerable we are. It's not something that's just to be taken for granted."

For Bublé, the holidays provide a space for everyone to get through whatever tough times they might be enduring.

"When it comes now to this time of the season, we need it more than ever," he says. "There's a lot of darkness out there, and a lot of cynical people, and it's the one time of year where we just sort of drop the veneer of toughness and we let a little bit of sentimentality. Because when we're scared, when we have fear, we lose our greatest attributes: kindness, goodness and the love of humanity."

Michael Buble

For more exclusive insights from Michael Bublé, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday!

It's a good thing Bublé likes the holidays, as his voice is often played on repeat throughout homes across the globe during the season.

The Canadian crooner tells PEOPLE he's always loved Christmas music, especially now that he can experience the season from his children's perspective.

"The reason I fell in love with the great American songbook, jazz and crooners had a lot to do with the Christmas music being played when I was a kid. We had Bing Crosby always going through the house, and my mom and dad, they stayed young because they saw these holidays [and life] through the eyes of me and my two little sisters," he recalls. "Now I have my own kids. I have three babies where I just see my whole world through their eyes. It's the reason why I'll never grow tired of the magic and the sense of empathy, kindness and goodness."

Another thing for which Bublé is grateful? The support he's received from the public, especially during Noah's health issues.

"People will never understand how much it changed our lives when we were going through our darkest times; how much the prayers, how much the good will, how much the love we could feel coming [helped]," Bublé says. "We feel indebted to those people. And I only hope I can bring people a tenth of the joy they brought me."

Just don't call those people "fans."

"You'll never hear me say the word 'fan' ever. It's a derogatory word. It's short for fanatical, and those people are not fanatics — they're my family, my friends and strangers in the dark," Bublé says. "I may not have met them, but they mean as much to me."