MONROE, Ga. – It's the time of year we all just want to go home. To June Gossling of Monroe, Georgia, it's everything.
“To be home is a gift. It's a true gift," she said.
Because for months, June and Michael Gossling haven't been home- with all four kids. They've been living in and out of the hospital, after a journey that began this summer, when then 2-year old Grant became listless, and wouldn't eat. His father said, “It really got to the point where when we'd pick him up, under his armpits, like you would any normal kid, he screamed."
An X-ray showed a mass on Grant's arm, and his blood counts were seriously off. A nurse told June to rush him to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
"We stayed there overnight. They came in the next day and said your son has Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma. And we were like, what's that?" Michael Gossling said.
The news wasn't good. Neuroblastoma is a rare, aggressive cancer that affects between 600 and 700 children in the U.S. every year. Grant had a tennis ball-sized tumor attached to his adrenal gland.
“Unfortunately, it had already spread. So Grant has a very tough battle ahead of him, we're in the middle of it right now," Michael said.
June Gossling said the news was really tough.
"Once you know, your world falls apart. And you have to grieve as you process the information and then you get a plan. And once you have a plan, it's a lot easier to deal with it," she said.
The Gosslings came up with a mantra: "One step at a time, one prayer at a time."
Grant underwent 5 rounds of chemo, but it didn't work.
So, they tried an intense radiation treatment.
Through it all, they've focused on finding the good. And they say it was all around them at Children's.
“It's just a special place, it's not scary for our son to go to the AFLAC Cancer Center to be treated. He looks forward to it. They bring him toys, they sing with him," Michael said.
June said they choose to focus on the blessing in their lives.
"If you're not thankful and don't see the blessings in even the darkest moments, I don't know how you survive. I don't think you can. I think it will drag you down," she said.
Which brings us back to these yellow ribbons. Thinking about them, June said, “I'm already going to start crying.”
After Grant's intensive radiation treatment, the Gosslings were able to take him home for the holidays. And that's when they started noticing them, on the drive home.
There were even a few at a gas station a few miles up, and as you got closer and you saw more and more and the tears just started flowing," June said.
More than 600 yellow ribbons all over the roads approaching their farm. Tied up by family and friends to say "Welcome Home, Grant."
"It was just raw emotion coming out, we had tears in our eyes pulling down our fence line, it was a really special experience," Michael said.