Nick Romano
September 14, 2017 AT 01:22 PM EDT

The death of William on This Is Us was a life-affirming moment for many viewers, including actor Ron Cephas Jones. In a video interview with EW reflecting on his Emmy nomination, he says the episode taught him the timeless lesson that “life is precious — very, very precious.”

“That was on my conscience for a long time and it’s still today,” Jones explains. “Every morning that I wake up and I’m breathing, I can feel it and take a moment to say, you know, ‘Thank God I’m alive for another day.’ And that’s what that episode and the character and the whole journey of William taught me, and hopefully a lot of other people are feeling the same way.”

Jones is up for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, a category that also includes Jeffrey Wright in Westworld, John Lithgow in The Crown, and David Harbour in Stranger Things. The actor previously described his character’s final road trip as a “wonderfully sad” jaunt. “It has the top of the top and the bottom of the bottom, and everything in between,” he said.

William, however, will return for This Is Us season 2 in flashbacks. “He’s going to play a very big part of our story, both as young William [played by Jermel Nakia] and [older William],” creator Dan Fogelman told EW.

Jones now says he was “overwhelmed” to learn of his Emmy nomination, but also “very happy not only for myself but for the team.”

“I still forget, you know, I mean just in my consciousness, and then it’s like [this] really big breath comes over me, you know, if that makes sense,” he says. “So, a bit overwhelming, but [I’m] very excited, very humble, and very happy.”

Watch EW’s interview with Jones in the video above.

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