I remember how he used to stand at the podium and compulsively straighten his notes as he lectured. I remember his green eyes and his wry smile and his ohmygod nice upper body. Really. I mean I can sit here today in 2005 and see clearly in my mind's eye Louis Owens looking back at me from the past.
We fell out of touch, of course. He moved away, I moved to England for a year, he continued his trajectory of academia and writing.
So when I Googled his name about a year ago to see what he had written lately, it was (warning: understatement ahead) a shock to learn that he committed suicide.
I've read that people grieving over a friend or family member's suicide experience a lot of anger, because they also are grieving murder in a way. Your friend or family member murdered someone you cared about ... granted, it was himself/herself ... but you still feel the anger.
I never got to the anger stage. I had been out of touch with Louis for too long to feel a strong emotion like anger that he killed himself.
All I've ever felt is sad.