Louis quickly spiraled downward. No longer training, he resumed drinking and smoking. Having been focused on racing since he was a teenager, Louis had not prepared for any other career, and now the job market was flooded with returning soldiers. Louis went through a series of jobs and so managed to support himself and Cynthia, but was miserable in them. Finances only got worse after their first child, Cissy, was born. Although Louis adored her, he was a mess. He was drinking all the time, was often explosively angry, and was constantly beset by nightmares in which he strangled The Bird with his bare hands. One night he woke up to find himself choking Cynthia. Finally, unable to take it anymore, Cynthia told him that she was getting a divorce.
He and Cynthia had two children- Cissy and Luke- and their marriage, once so rocky, lasted 54 years, until her death in 2001. Louis remained healthy, happy, and active for the rest of his life... he was still running a six minute mile in his sixties, and in 1998, at 81, returned once again to Japan to run with the Olympic torch. While there, he asked to meet with Matsuhiro Watanabe- The Bird- who had eventually been located, though not until after Japanese war criminals had been granted amnesty, so he was never punished for what he had done. Watanabe refused, so Louis wrote a letter to him, in which he explained how his treatment of him had destroyed his life, but that through Christ, he had replaced the hatred inside him with love. He wrote that he forgave Watanabe and that he hoped that he, too, would one day become a Christian. Louis never received a reply. The Bird died in 2003.