NEW YORK (WTAJ) — Ashley Bisman was just 16 years old when she lost her dad on Sept. 11, 2001, which led her to write a book in his memory.
According to Bisman, Chasing Butterflies is a love letter to her dad. Written in the present tense with flashbacks to the past, the book takes readers along her quest for success and a fairytale ending in the very same city her father was killed.
“My dad really was the best, he would play tennis with me, we’d go swimming together, we’d sit on the couch and watch T.V.,” she said.
Treasuring each moment, Bisman said 9/11 still feels like yesterday.
On that devastating day, her father, Jeff Goldflam was at work. As the CFO at Cantor Fitzgerald, he worked on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center, just nine floors from the very top.
“I was a junior in high school,” Bisman said. “I was sitting in class and a rumor started going around that an airplane had flown into the World Trade Center.”
Hoping that it was just that, a rumor, she would soon learn that it wasn’t.
That’s when she jumped out of her seat, raced to the front office and begged administrators to let her leave early. Once in the comfort of her home, Bisman said the first 24-48 hours were a waiting game.
“So many people were trying to call loved ones that a lot of the phone lines were down,” Bisman said.
Not knowing what was going on, she and her family tried their best to stay positive.
“There’s always that hope inside of you that’s thinking ‘oh, maybe he was in the lobby getting a coffee or maybe he ran out to run an errand,’ but in the back of our minds, we all knew he was a really hard worker, he was always at his desk,” she said. “We knew that’s where he was.”
For years after 9/11, her father’s death was never confirmed. Instead, he was marked as “missing.” It wasn’t until further down the road that her family would finally receive proof that her dad had indeed been inside when his credit card was found in the rubble.
Young and living in the big city, Bisman tried her best to live a “normal life” as well as one that her father would be proud of despite the shadow of the Freedom Towers looming over.
“I wanted the world to know that there’s a lot of love and light and positivity in life and laughter,” she said.
“I think he’d be really proud,” Bisman said in regard to her book.
A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to Tuesdays Children, an organization that serves families forever changed by mass violence.
“They do so much from raising money to even giving family members tickets to a Metz game and saying, ‘hey, we want to put a smile on your face go to this baseball game tonight and enjoy,’ and…that’s everything,” Bisman said.
Everything, so people can begin chasing their own butterflies.