Guest Blogger: Dianne Allison @ Holli (Hollis) Hawthorne

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Diane Allison is so generous to let me repost some of her blog here about her daughter, Holli (Hollis) Hawthorne. Holli had a severe traumatic brain injury almost four years ago. Her mother and other family have contributed regularly to a blog at and at .
Her friends also blog at


In my other life as a Sprockette, Holli, a dedicated artist, was in the San Francisco sister bike dance troupe, The Derailleurs. She was injured in India, and bike communities all over held benefit events to raise money for her and her mother to fly to the US and then to be moved to home. I never met her but felt a kinship being part of the West Coast bike dance community. And now this traumatic brain injury thing.

I have kept up with Diane’s blogging over the years, checking on Holli. One thing that always caught my attention was how often she wrote about Holli’s response to music and dance: calm, peace, happiness, and connections to other people. Even in the midst of severe pain, recurring illness and long hospital stays, and painfully slow healing from the brain injury, art has been a refuge.

These excerpts represent maybe less than 1% of the heartfelt, deep, moving posts Holli’s family has been writing. I focused only on references to art because art has always touched Holli. I am so pleased that it still does.

February 28, 2009

Holli has been in a terrible motorcycle accident while in India. She is currently in a coma.

March 23, 2009

Holli remains in a comatose state. She is however, doing more and more as time goes on. We just simply don’t know what Holli’s prognosis is. It truly is a “wait and see” situation. We do know that there is a good chance that she will be different, but just don’t know what those differences will be.

March 27, 2009

Holli’s friends have been so good to visit her and provide lots of stimulation through music and conversation. Diane said it seems like a party when they are around 🙂 We are so thankful for them and their loyalty and love for Holli.

April 23, 2009

Holli made up for her quiet day yesterday by being very vocal and restless today. She worked with speech therapy this morning. As she was constantly moaning during the session her therapist started singing the ABC song, Holli stopped and listened quietly which is something she had not done before for the entire song.

May 9, 2009

Holli seems to be better today. Much calmer and quietly lies and listens to her music on her Ipod with her beautiful brown eyes wide open. The best Mother’s Day gift for me would be for Holli to wake up but I know that it probably will not happen tomorrow. I will keep the faith that it will be soon.

June 6, 2009

Holli is much calmer and spends her daytime with her headset on listening to her music. She seems very content during these times.

August 17, 2009

Today when Eliza came by and played music and danced in the room, Holli watched her every move.

August 28, 2009

Everyone has been so wonderful to both Holli and myself. I could not have made it these last 6 months without your friendship and love. I will never, ever forget you. Holli has been so blessed to have wonderful friends that truly care about her. You have helped her get through these past months with your songs, music, laughter, stories and touch and I have made some wonderful friends.

September 18, 2009

She is moving her left arm more and more but still has not talked. She smacks her lips and yawns really big at times. She enjoys watching tv, especially the arts station.

January 29, 2010

It is so much fun being able to talk and sing with her. She loves singing along with her music on her Ipod. I read her a book tonight that was really funny that really made her laugh hard. What sweet music to my ears!

March 27, 2010

This week Holli has been back to her old self of smiling and laughing. Her best friend from San Francisco, Eliza, was here to spend three days with Holli. When Holli’s roommate was out of the room, we would put on the music and Eliza would dance with Holli in her wheelchair.

April 29, 2010

Some days she gets fixated on certain subjects and can get really upset about her “disability”. We are all stressing that she does not have a disability but a brain injury with some physical challenges. She will quickly forget what we tell her and we just have to keep reminding her. Then on other days she will say “funny” things and just laugh at herself and sings songs along with her Ipod or the Arts station on tv.

February 24, 2012

Holli has come so far….I thank the Lord for being with us every step of the way and for all His blessings. She talks and laughs more and more but of course she still gets agitated and will cuss you out in a heart beat!! Her favorite pass time are movies such as Muppets, Shriek, Scooby-doo or anything animated or musical. She loves to sing and will sing along with the movies or the music channel.