I believe that on switch, somewhere between 4 and 8 chunks are loaded at any give time, depending on your settings. That's only 64 blocks away from you in a straight line at its minimum, and around 128 at max. If you were 2000 blocks away, your items were in an unloaded chunk for the vast majority of the time you were traveling. The five minute timer is a thing, and it starts when your items are in a loaded chunk. With needing to be so near to your death point for your items to load, I can easily see your things still being there three hours later.
So, in essence, you're right! If you're attached to your items, it's definitely worthwhile trying to find your death point again. As long as you know where it is and don't spend 5 minutes within the loaded chunk space, it's very possible to find your things well after you died.