Cyril D. Walrond

Death Has Never Scared Me

I grew up surrounded by death and destruction, so I came to grips that when it’s my time it’s my time. Lord willing my death just wouldn’t be in vain. Many childhood friends of mine have passed away prior to their 18th birthday or very soon after. Many of these friends died as martyrs for causes they deemed righteous, while others lost long fought battles with cancer or even depression (that left them feeling as if there was no other way out).

I can honestly count everyday as a humbling blessing because my work could easily be praised as posthumous. Why was my life spared, while theirs was taken? I have no explanation beyond I am here for a reason and I have a greater calling for my life than to merely exist. I have unfinished business to take care of and I owe it to those who are no longer with us to see this job to completion. I believe we don’t die until we do all that we were meant to. Even if in the natural sense it is perceived as too soon, that life can be used to change the course of history. (Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, etc.)

When I first arrived to prison I was sent to the Washington State Penitentiary in Monroe, WA. Not exactly my depiction of prison with its overabundance of offender change programs. I eagerly signed up any and everything to get out of my cell and out of unit to do something productive with my time. Stress and anger management, I’m there! Alternative to violence, what’s this about? Course in miracles, I can use a miracle! Church, God knows I’ve been the consummate prodigal son!

As I go to check the call-out board (a sheet of paper posted, showing every inmate in the units schedule for the upcoming day) I noticed a flier mentioning a memorial service to be held in the next few days for another inmate. I just seen him a couple of days ago. Now he’s dead? Than it hit me, there is no guarantee I will live to see my release date.

It is often a forgotten fact that tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us, whether in prison or out of prison. Than to add insult to injury, take into consideration the subpar medical and dental facilities and the departments primary concern to cut cost rather than provide sufficient care.

While at Monroe it was eerie how often I would see men alive one day and than being carried out on a gurney in the middle of the night. By the time morning came, their cell is empty. By the time the next chain day arrived, someone new was likely to have already moved in. Life on the inside goes on like nothing happened. Barely anyone mentions the event. Who do you send condolences to? What happens to the deceased now? Who collects their body or property? What if there is no one to collect their things?

Now my friend from high schools dad passed away while we were doing time together in Walla Walla or The Washington State Penitentiary. He had a pacemaker device in his chest and was telling the C.O.’s and other staff that he needed to get a new battery to keep his heart beating or something like that. Ultimately Mr. B was seeking medical attention but got the cold shoulder being told he will be able to see his medical provider on Monday. He didn’t make it.

Losing Mr. B hurt! I didn’t know that, that Friday would be the last time I would see him or hear his voice. He told me of the negligence of the staff surrounding his condition as we were clocking out from work in correctional industries. As if he knew something I didn’t know he called me over.

“Baby Boy”, he said in his ever so cool and nonchalant way, “I’ve watched you grow up in here and I just hope that God allows my boys to become as good of a man as you have become. God has a plan for your life but know that you can’t die if you aren’t living and…the only way to live is with purpose…I need to go grab this now (mud?) but I love you, boy!” Words I would never forget.

We briefly hugged then he wobbled off to go collect a bag of coffee a partner owed him. As I stayed back to maximize my time card and talk about plans for the upcoming week, Mr. B’s silhouette gradually grew smaller and smaller until it disappeared from my view.

I wonder if he ever got to enjoy that bag of coffee?

R.I.P. Mr. B

Cyril Walrond
DOC #309756

cyril pic

17 replies »

  1. Great story, indeed! I hope many people read this story to enlighten and live with purpose in life through the words of God. Thank you for sharing a wonderful story.


  2. Your writing style is amazing and very engaging and immersive! It draws us near to what the plot of the story really is. Even the words of Mr. B. You paint a different picture than of movies depicting prisons and inmates. Thank you so much for being thoughtful about sharing these very interesting and enlightening pieces of information!


  3. Wooow……..I did a paper on the negligence in the prisons and lack of health care. It was hard just doing the report without feeling some type of way. But hearing it from the horse’s mouth made me cry 😦


  4. You have a way with the pen. amazing writing. I am sorry you in and not outside publishing your books. But I have hope that one day I will see your books in a book store. I am sorry you have lost so many friends.
    The killer line for me was “It is often a forgotten fact that tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us, whether in prison or out of prison”. Even the words of Mr. B. You paint a different picture than of movies depicting prisons and inmates. The picture given to the outside world is men with tattoos, bad language and violence. Not eloquence and love. Keep writing.


  5. Thank you for sharing this story, Cyril! And I’m so sorry about your friend(s) and others who have suffered in prisons and because of the situations that led to them. Though as a mentally ill woman I have been limited in what I can do to help, I do try to write my congressman and senator about my concerns. I have included requests to help make life easier for others to prevent the need for imprisonment and generally improve lives of ALL Americans. I also vote for candidates most likely to do so.

    Please keep sharing!


  6. I’m really sorry to hear about your friend. So many people die in custody, for completely ridiculous reasons. I’m so sorry to hear that Mr B, didn’t get the medical attention he deserved and needed. What your doing is incredibly important (and also brave)
    It is vital that people on the outside know what is going on, on the inside.
    Us with family and friends in the prison population know about these things. But sadly the wider population, do not.
    Keep up the good words, I hope you get to have contact with Mr B’s son soon. I’m going to keep reading. Take care x


  7. Thank you for your response to my piece DEATH HAS NEVER SCARED ME. Mr. B’s passing was truly one of those wake up calls that even in a controlled environment such as prison life is but a vapor, here one second and gone the next. So how do I want to be remembered? What legacy to I hope to leave? How many lives will I touch? His death could have been prevented and arguably if in a different or more civil and less bureaucratic setting this negligence would have con criminal act. Unfortunately for Mr. B he didn’t have the outside support to agrue this gross injustice, and in spite of my attempts I have yet contact with his son, my friend. C.D. Walrond


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