Amanda Parry is a stay-at-home mother to two special-needs children who blogs at unexceptionalparenting.com

Hell sounds a lot like Chuggington.

Every year around this time, my family tiptoes past a strange anniversary. It was five years ago in November that doctors discovered three tumors growing in our daughter's skull.

What followed were months and years of tremendous highs and even deeper lows: rounds of chemotherapy, surgery after surgery, heart-stopping moments of terror, and eventually joy and relief when it looked as if she would be OK.

It is perhaps not surprising that we don't do much to acknowledge the moment our lives changed from the mundane to the horrific. But I always assumed I would remember every detail of those early days.

Sadly, I can't. For some reason, all I can recall with any clarity are the sounds.

Our world was much quieter back then. Our children were 3 years old and 14 months and hadn't yet started talking. The only noise in our house came from their toys or the music we sang, played, and listened to.

So I remember the sounds of the lullaby playing in the car on the way to the hospital for an MRI to determine why my daughter wasn't reaching the right developmental milestones:

Moon, moon, moon

Shining bright

Moon, moon, moon

My night light

Moon, moon, moon

I can see

Moon, moon, moon

You're taking care of me

I remember her giggles as I blew raspberries on her tummy in the hospital, trying to distract her from the fact she couldn't eat or drink anything before the test since she was being put under anesthesia.

I remember hearing my husband cry for the first time that evening when we got the results.

I recall what I sang to her the next day when we were back at the hospital for more tests and the cold gel an ultrasound technician spread on her tummy caused her to fuss:

My Bonnie lies over the ocean

My Bonnie lies over the sea

My Bonnie lies over the ocean

Bring back my Bonnie to me

Bring back

Bring back

Bring back my Bonnie to me

If you think for a second I didn't want to cry my eyes out at the sound of these lyrics, then go hit yourself with a tack hammer. It took everything I had not to dissolve into tears.

Of all these, the sound that sticks out the most was what we heard in her oncologist's office, waiting for the verdict on the second round of tests.

At that point we didn't know if the tumors were confined to her head or spread through her body. We weren't sure if we'd caught the cancer early on or if we were at the tail end of her life.

There is no worse pain in the world than to lose a child. A distant second is finding out you are too late to save your child.

For once, our children's silence was welcome. My husband and I were free to sit white-knuckling our chairs, taking turns holding our baby, focusing on anything but the fact that we were facing down our child's mortality.

After a few minutes, our son went to inspect the pile of toys a nurse had left for him to play with. He pulled out a book about Chuggington, a cartoon rip-off of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Concerned he would ask me to read to him and I would lose my place in the long list of promises I was making to God to keep my daughter alive, I was relieved when he discovered a row of buttons on the book you could press to make sounds.

Relieved until he actually pressed one, and the show's theme song blared obnoxiously in the quiet. Imagine, if you can, a studio full of stage children hopped up on Pixy Stix and Red Bull shouting the following:

CHUGG-ing-TON!

Chugging, Chugging, Chugging, Chugging

CHUGG-ING-TON!

CHUG-ing-TON!

Chugging, Chugging, Chugging,

Chugging, Chugging, Chugging,

Chugging, Chugging, Chugging, Chugging,

CHUGG-ING-TON!

All that money and this is what Disney comes up with?

Intrigued and delighted, my son pressed the button again.

And again.

And again.

Sometimes he pressed it, waited only a second, and then hit it again, creating his own little remix.

It was the perfect sound track to hell.

I remember, then, the sound of laughter, as my husband and I in our delirium started to crack up. The universe had found the one way it could make this day suck even more. What else could we do? It was laugh at this intolerable pounding of our psyches or start sobbing.

When the doctor finally arrived, we were granted a strange reprieve. It appeared the tumors hadn't spread and they might not be cancerous. Of course, that all turned out to be wrong, a long story for another day with a far less interesting sound track.

But as we celebrate five years since this horrible discovery and three years since my daughter finished treatment, I am once again reminded of the one truth I will take to my grave:

Hell sounds a lot like the theme song to Chuggington.