Sam Edelman

In this photo from August of 2015, Sam Edelman poses in his dorm room on the campus of the University of Montana.

Photograph courtesy of the family

Sam Edelman opened the window to his fifth-floor dorm room at the University of Montana and climbed onto the ledge.

He’d been listening to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” an odd choice, perhaps, since the song is about hope and beauty. At this moment, though, with the cold February air on his bare chest, Sam saw neither beauty in himself nor hope for his future.

Months before he’d opened this same window and thought about whether the height would be enough. He’d taken dozens of pills that night, too, but couldn’t bring himself to jump. He thought about his family back home in Bozeman, looked at a photograph of his dog and decided he wanted to live.

The help came in time that night, and Sam was glad for it. He wrote about it. Told people he was sorry. Knew he’d been selfish. Maybe there could be a wonderful life for someone like him. Maybe there could be someone he could love and who would love him back.

But this night, his dorm room window was open again.

And this night, Sam couldn’t shake the torment that apparently frightened him more than a leap from five stories: He’d never be the woman he knew himself to be. And he was alone.

To read the rest of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's story on Sam's search for identity, please follow this link.

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