December 10, 2022

WELCOME

I SHOULD HAVE CHECKED ON HIM MORE

7 min read

All of this snow has me blocked in but that doesn’t mean my ability to reach out is too. I should have checked on him more, but now I’m here in tears, in a state of disbelief.

It’s early, cold, and windy on this Friday morning of February 2022. The temperature is slowly climbing from -6 degrees at midnight to 15 degrees currently.

The gusty winds are sweeping past my windows, so I finally get out of bed after laying there for the past twenty minutes. It sure doesn’t feel like it’s warming up, but how can I really tell? It’s still below freezing!

As I wake up from my cold slumber there is a bright white hue coming from my bedroom window.
I peek through my blinds from my bed room upstairs to see the ground is blanketed with snow. They were right this time! It really happened.

According to the national weather service office in Lincoln, IL, I’m looking at a total of 6.6 inches of snow that fell overnight. We finally have a snowstorm that I didn’t believe would hit. They always warn us of potential snow storms in the past that never came true, but this time, they were right.

I told my clients the day before that I would text them in the morning if our sessions were still on, pending on the weather. Looking outside, far as my eyes can see, my street isn’t plowed, let alone my driveway. It looks like I’ll have to cancel these sessions if I can’t get my driveway shoveled.

In a way I’m looking forward to shoveling the snow. It’ll be my workout for the day.

I make my way down stairs to make a fresh cup of coffee. I can still hear the wind blowing and I’m nervous. The cold hits different when there’s high winds involved. I put the fresh brewed coffee in my cantigo cup to head outside to shovel this snow. First I gotta lace up these timberland boots. I only bring them out for situations like this.

I’m layered up in clothes. A shirt, a hoodie, a pair of shorts, two pairs of socks, and a coat. For some reason I can only find one glove. I’ve been meaning to buy some since last winter, but never got around it.

I make my way to the garage with coffee in hand to raise the garage door. As the door raises it resembles the bright white light one sees in movies in the after life. I haven’t seen snow like this in years. It’s at this moment I regret not having a snow blower.

This is a lot of snow and I don’t know if I can shovel all of this snow from the driveway. There are three stalls, which means I need to clear the way for all of them. Even if I do get this snow out of the way, what would be the purpose because the streets are just as deep with snow.

This is a battle I can’t win, so I turn around to go back upstairs as I close the garage. It looks like I’ma have to buckle down because I’m snowed in.

I text my clients letting them know all sessions are cancelled. I can’t get out my driveway and the streets are not plowed. This is fresh snow and I would be surprised if the city came out this early to plow my street.

Looks like today’s workout will be in my home gym. Thank you Lord for this provision.

It’s early May of 2017 and I’m walking into Planet Fitness in Chicago to meet him for the first time. This feels weird to meet someone that I’ve been chatting with online. Since I’m up here for the Chicago Fit Expo I decided to link up with him for a workout and interview.

Mario Colao aka “MR 1 MORE ROUND”. His mantra is “Your Fight Ain’t Over”. I first connected with Mario back in late 2015 online because of his weight loss journey. He had recently loss a fair amount of weight, so that’s what drew me to him.

 

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A post shared by Mr1MoreRound (@mr1moreround)

I had just came off my weight loss journey so it was natural to connect with those who did as well. On top of that he had a growing youtube, plus he liked CT Fletcher. Mario always posted motivational content that I was low key jealous about.

I was jealous because he had this on camera confidence and comfortability that seemed so natural. I wanted to know how he did it. Being on camera always made me nervous up until it was time to record. I wanted to see if he could help me with that as well. We can get into all that after this workout, during our interview.

We agreed to interview each other for our youtube channels after the workout. This will be one of my first youtube collabs so I’m excited and nervous at the same time.

From the moment he walked in he smiled as we greeted each other. The bass in his voice was real from what I would hear online. In my head I’m like this guy is the real deal. You never know if people are putting on an act online, but as we chatted, this wasn’t an act.

We recorded our workout and almost got kicked out of planet fitness. It was funny because Planet Fitness has the rep for being judge free, but it seems their intent is to judge. We still recorded when we could and laughed about it.

As we gorilla shot the vids, we talked about our weight loss journey, youtube, and life in Chicago. I learned he is an Uber driver as well. During that time, I was a heavy Uber driver back home trying to make ends meet as I figured this personal training and youtube creator life out.

After the workout we got in my car and interviewed each other for our respective channels. This guy is a natural. The voice, the energy, the personality was all there. I realized how robotic I was so I asked him, how can I get rid of that? How do you do it?

His reply was the old saying of, JUST BE YOURSELF. That was tough for me because I realized I was the one putting on a persona online. I was trying to be too perfect, too sharp, and focusing too much on not messing up. He let me know it’s ok, just let it flow.

I felt closer to him as a friend after that day due to his true genuiness.

We kept in touch after that but I wish I would have reached out more. Life became busier with personal training, clients, and creating content, but I would always see him online. Every Friday he would post this video of Jean Claude Van Damme dancing with the quote TGIF.

Later that evening as the wind gusts from the remnant of the snow storm is blowing over the house, I’m shocked by what I see when I open my IG app. 

“RIP MARIO”

What the hell is this about? Nah. This can’t be true. Not at all. I’m switching from app to app, inboxing people that I knew was in his circle. It was confirmed, he had passed.

Immediately tears are rolling from my eyes as I think how he inboxed me Happy Birthday two months prior. I have a hole in my gut. Im hurt. Not Mario. How did this happen? Why didn’t I know about this?

I realize I’m not going to know everything. How can I if I’m not the one checking in with him, or my other friends. Why is it that I’m shocked of not knowing what’s going on if I’m not checking in? I felt so guilty, and hurt at the same time.

With respect to Marios family, he passed away due to a condition he had been dealing with, that he kept to himself or ones closet to him.

I did notice his posts were less frequent that week and the week prior but I thought he was just taking a break from social media, like we all do.

Him passing away?? Not him, not Mario, nah I’m not believing this one.

I should have checked on him more. Now I’m here in disbelief with tears in my eyes. Just because I’m snowed in and can’t go anywhere does not mean I can’t reach out by phone. It still works.

The regret of not reaching out more is something I’ll have to live with until I’m gone. Cherish your loved ones while they’re here. Check on your friends, especially your strong friends, the ones that motivate you daily. They’re reaching deep within themselves to illuminate positivity for you and the world to keep pressing on in this fight of life.

Mario’s mantra was “Your Fight Ain’t Over”. He was a big boxing fan, a Rocky fan at that. I would always see him post clips from that movie in his IG story.

In that moment of processing the news, I’m scrolling through his IG to realize he had been fighting something for a while. He always appeared to be happy and vibrant when we did chat, even though he was in a fight for his life. Buddy, you don’t have to fight anymore. Your fight is over. You won.

LONG LIVE MARIO!!!!

2 thoughts on “I SHOULD HAVE CHECKED ON HIM MORE

  1. Very nice article. You’re so right, cherish our love ones while we have them. Maybe it’s the pandemic, maybe it’s the grey in my hair, I’ve learned to call, email or text those in my circle. Whether it be my work circle, church, friend, or family, do a quick check. We never know what their state of mind is. Our checking on them may or may not change an outcome. Letting someone know they are in your thoughts is invaluable.

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