'I'm always thankful for another day':
Like music, life has its high notes and low ones, too. It can tell a story or grab an emotion, and for musician Nick Malloy, it was a lifeline.
It was 10 years ago on March 28 -- his 23rd birthday -- that Nick was in a devastating car accident. Many in Central Georgia hoped and prayed for Nick’s recovery. They joined his dad, 13WMAZ’s Frank Malloy, and his family as they waited through the first few hours and days after the accident to see what the future would hold for Nick.
Nick survived, but he was paralyzed from the waist down. Nick spent time at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta where doctors encouraged him to play his guitar. Nick credits that with helping heal from some of his injuries including the one hundred stitches in his arm, but there were deeper wounds, and he almost let his music go.
Nick said, “I had trouble smiling, laughing, crying. I would start playing a little more. I would work on the chords, making up my own stuff, I'd start crying.”
The Macon musician was dealing with a lot, and music became medicine, helping to heal those invisible wounds.
“Once you start playing, I don't know -- it helped me feel my emotions a bit for awhile there. I was feeling it, but it's been therapeutic,” said Nick.
While recovering at the Shepherd Center, doctors encouraged Nick to play his guitar.
“I forgot how much I love it. I try to push it away, but the more you push it away, the more you want it. It's crazy,” Malloy said.
It wasn't right away, but with encouragement from friends, fellow musicians, and most importantly, himself, about three years later, Nick decided to get reacquainted with some old friends -- his guitars.
PHOTOS: Nick Malloy, 10 years after life-changing accident
He said, “They're the only things I really consider friends in my life. I've got buddies, I’ve got pals -- those guitars, they've done a lot for me.”
Several more years later, Nick started playing out again.
“I run into a lot of the first responders here and there. Every time I see them, it's like they look at me and it's like they see a ghost,” Malloy said.
It's moments like that where Nick realizes how lucky he is to be alive.
“I'm grateful for every day. There are a lot of days I wished that day had been my last day, but those days, I'm always thankful for another day because you don't know what tomorrow holds,” said Malloy.
10 years later, he still longs for what was lost, but the music reminds him of the purpose he's found.
“If somebody said, 'You could walk tomorrow and you can have, somehow, you could feel your legs again or you could do that for the rest of your life,' I'd take that in a heartbeat," he said, emotionally. "Playing in front of people playing music, that’s -- 'Yeah, you got it. Yeah, man, it’s just music.'”
Nick continues to do physical therapy to keep his body strong. He has more than 30 song ideas in the works and looks forward to writing and performing more music.