Designer Nate Berkus believes the witnessing of the disappearance of his boyfriend was a gift.

Speaking to his former mentor, Oprah Winfrey, in the second part of a two-part interview on cabler OWN's Super Soul Sunday, Berkus, 41, explained that he would have never accepted the 2004 death of his boyfriend, photographer Fernando Bengoechea, had he not witnessed it himself.

Berkus lost Bengoechea while the couple vacationed in Sri Lanka. Bengoechea is presumed dead from a tsunami that hit the island country.

“Spiritually, how did you come back and put the pieces together for yourself?” Oprah asked.

“I felt that [witnessing Bengoechea disappearing] gave me a lot strength when I came home,” Berkus said. “Because I have always been a very visual person. And I needed to see what that tsunami really was in order to accept, to truly accept, that he was gone. I would have never accept it if I heard about it on the phone or saw it on the news.”

“The witnessing was a gift,” he later added.

Part two of Oprah and Nate Berkus: The Things That Matter airs Sunday, February 17 on OWN.