A Long Way Gone

How does Uncle Tommy die?

A long way gone

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Uncle Tommy becomes ill with a fever. He couldn't keep any food down, the hospitals were closed, and the family couldn't get a doctor to their home. Uncle Tommy died as a result of this illness, but we are given no other details or diagnosis.

My uncle became sick. One morning we were sitting on the verandah when he complained he wasn’t feeling very well. In the evening he developed a fever and he lay inside, groaning. Allie and I went to a nearby shop and bought medicine, but Uncle’s fever grew worse day after day. Auntie Sallay would force him to eat, but he would vomit everything the moment she was done feeding him. All the hospitals and pharmacies were closed. We searched the city for doctors or nurses, but those who hadn’t left would not leave their homes for fear they might not be able to return to their families again. One evening I was sitting by my uncle, wiping his forehead, when he fell off the bed. I caught his long body in my arms and held his head on my lap. His cheekbones stood out of his round face. He looked at me and I could see in his eyes that he had given up hope. I begged him not to leave us. His lips were about to utter something, but they stopped shaking, and he was gone.


A Long Way Gone