Over the past year, Olivia Newton-John’s loved ones haven’t just sensed the late superstar’s presence — they’ve seen it, too.
Opening up to PEOPLE in this week’s issue on the anniversary of the Grease and pop music icon’s death from cancer at 73, those who were closest to Newton-John share details of her final days, what this past year has been like, and how they say she’s visited them in ways they never could have imagined.
“Two weeks after she passed my phone accidentally took a picture of my dog, and there floating by his head was a little blue orb, the same color as this,” her daughter Chloe Lattanzi, 37, says touching an aquamarine pendant necklace her stepdad, John Easterling, 71, had once given her mom, who then gifted it to her before she died last August.
“Mom and I had talked years back. We’d watch these paranormal shows, and I’d say, ‘You gotta show up for me.’ And she was like, ‘I’ll show up as one of those orb things.’ ”
Related: Olivia Newton-John Dead at 73: The Star and 'Grease' Icon Dies of Breast Cancer
Easterling has had similar encounters. Two months ago he visited Peru with his wife’s ashes to hold a private ceremony at the spot where they said “I do,” commemorating what would have been their 15th wedding anniversary. “I took a picture, and this blue orb is right between my eyes,” he says, showing off the image on his phone. “It’s been a supernatural year.”
On Aug. 8, 2022, Newton-John died peacefully at her home in Santa Ynez, California, after a 30-year journey with breast cancer. (First diagnosed with the disease in 1992, she privately faced a recurrence in 2013 before publicly revealing the cancer had metastasized to her sacrum in 2017.)
While the world lost a beloved movie and music star—revered for her role as Sandy in Grease, timeless pop hits like “Physical” and a famously positive attitude in the face of multiple cancer diagnoses—Lattanzi and Easterling lost the person they loved most. “There’s no replacing her,” says Easterling.
Over the past year Lattanzi, Newton-John’s only child, with ex-husband Matt Lattanzi, and Easterling came together to honor the late legend, first with a private service for family and close friends in California, followed by a star-studded state funeral in her home country of Australia in February.
Related: Olivia Newton-John Honored at State Memorial Service in Australia by Family and Celebrity Friends
In October they’ll lead her annual Olivia’s Walk for Wellness in Melbourne to raise funds for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre along with lifesaving cancer research with her Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund currently testing the efficacy of medicinal plants for cancer treatment.
“It’s an honor,” Lattanzi says of continuing her mom’s advocacy and gearing up to lead this year’s walk alongside Easterling. “I know it’s going to be really hard emotionally, but I’m excited to do this for her.” Adds Easterling: “I have to stop and just be grateful. She wants us to live life and love life and never lose sight of the good things.”
For years Newton-John used that same mantra while she defied the odds. After announcing in 2017 that her cancer had returned, the star remained optimistic despite a sobering prognosis. “I don’t think I imagined living this long! I feel very blessed,” Newton-John — who merged traditional cancer treatments with homeopathic practices and remedies championed by Easterling, an herbalist and naturopathic entrepreneur — told PEOPLE in 2021.
Even as Newton-John’s condition declined, her positive spirit endured. “She loved her spot outside her bedroom to watch the birds,” says Lattanzi, who moved back in to help care for her mom. After she’d spent some time in the hospital near the end, “we were like, ‘She doesn’t want to be here,’ ” says Lattanzi, and they brought Newton-John back home.
“We wanted to get her home to the animals, to the birds.” It was there, at her and Easterling’s serene valley hideaway surrounded by mountains, that Newton-John took her last breath. “[Her caregiver] Carol says she opened her eyes, looked at me and mouthed, ‘I love you.’ That’s a very special last memory for me,” Lattanzi says.
“We had a symbiotic relationship,” she adds “I’ve battled with a lot of things in my life. She’d always be like, ‘You’re so powerful and strong and magnificent.’ ”
Related: Olivia Newton-John and Daughter Chloe Release New Duet Together Called 'Window in the Wall'
In her heartbreak, Lattanzi, a singer like her mom, has been buoyed by an otherworldly sense of encouragement. “I’ve heard her be like, ‘You are my daughter. You are carrying the torch,’ ” says Lattanzi, who recorded the 2021 duet “Window in the Wall” with Newton-John. “I know she’s wrapping her wings around me, and I believe in myself now. We feel her every single day.”
For more on Olivia Newton-John’s final days and lasting legacy, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE out Friday.
For more information on Olivia’s Walk for Wellness visit walkforwellness.com.au.
For more information on the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund and research projects, visit onjfoundationfund.org
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Read the original article on People.