A Military Family
Posted on November 7, 2018
Iraq, 2008

Whenever I think about my brother, I think of a goofy guy with the most infectious laughter. In our younger years, if I wanted to bug him I would just tickle him until he cackled, all the while laughing along with him. Anyone within earshot would giggle too. It was that kind of laughter.

We lost him last week to a heart attack. He was 45. We are all heart-broken.

My poor mom and dad.

He was an honest, decent man, always willing to lend a hand. The kind of guy who was never ever mad at anyone, even when chips were down and lines were crossed. He was somewhat shy, but when he opened up he had a warm, welcoming smile that no one could resist. And, again, a laughter that could turn the tightest of frowns up-side-down.

Our family and friends shared stories and photos on Facebook, Twitter and over texts and phone calls. Some of his military family contacted us with condolences and posted photos as well, with short blurbs of his impact on their lives. It was tough reading all of the posts, but at the same time heart warming.

He loved Star Wars -- I mean really, really loved it. He read loads of fantasy novels, the most avid fantasy reader I know, and he was my biggest fan. He pushed me to continue writing, almost to the point of annoyance, giving me the stink eye whenever I told him a novel was delayed. He was my #1 beta reader who was quick to tell me when my writing stunk, as it so often did.

The only other love he had was the military. He kept re-enlisting even when we begged him not to. After 20+ years in the Army Reserves, a tour in Kosovo and two more in Iraq, we thought he was done. We were wrong. He loved the service, he loved his army buddies.

His military family was larger than we knew -- we learned this at the funeral. The building was full of men and women in uniform, both fatigues and dress blues, and several former soldiers who came in civilian clothes. There wasn't enough room in the parlor and on both floors of the funeral home. It was a packed house.

One by one, soldiers of all ages and backgrounds, older folks who have gone to Kosovo and Iraq with my brother, seasoned war veterans and newbies who only knew my brother for a few years, took a knee in front of my mother and cried.

There were so many stories, so many tears, so much gratitude for my brother's friendship, for the love he gave them. There were silly antics that occurred during a drill weekends and overseas, like paying highly overpriced coffee in Italy because they were obvious American Soldiers, and guiding anxious newbies through military confusion like an uncle with all the answers. And some more serious tales, as when he stopped a friend from ending his own life.

I still can't get over the impact my brother had on so many lives.

And the platoon chaplain who gave the service, I can't thank him enough. He got to know my brother through his army family, and said the most beautiful words in his honor. He spoke as if he personally knew my brother. We are so very thankful of the 340th MP Company of the U.S. Army.

This has helped my parents cope. It has helped us all cope to know that my brother was so loved.

Thank you bro for being an awesome uncle to my kids, for being an awesome son, for teaching me how to play baseball with the boys when I was 9, and for letting me tickle you to the point of tears. We love you and will miss you always.

Norberto Miranda Jr.
2/20/1973 - 10/29/2018


  1. My heart goes out to you. He sounds like he was the best of guys. Sometimes I think the really good ones get their jobs on earth done and head to heaven before the rest of us. Your brother sounds like one of those guys who fit that description. Hugs and prayers to you and your family. Such a tragedy.

  2. That is so sad! He sounds like a wonderful guy. I know you and your family are hurting. So sorry for your loss.

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss, Tanya. This was truly a beautiful tribute.

  4. I am truly sorry for your loss, Tanya, and want to say thank you - and your extended family - for all the support you gave your brother during his many years of service to our country. He was obviously one of the good guys and I pray that you all find peace and comfort one day in the many wonderful memories you have.

  5. Tanya, I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. What an honorable man, serving country and family. Prayers for you, your family, and his many, many friends.

  6. Tanya, condolences to you and your family. He sounded like he was an inspiration to many. His memory will live on in the many lives he touched.

  7. Losing the people we love is the hardest challenge we have to face. I'm saddened to hear that a good man, only 45 years old was taken from his family. You've given your brother a beautiful tribute here.

  8. He sounds like a wonderful man who spread so much love. So sorry about your loss. Sending best wishes and condolences.

  9. So very sorry you lost your brother so soon. From your description of him, I'm not surprised the funeral home was packed. Prayers for you.

  10. He sounds like an awesome person and a pleasure to close to. I am very sorry for your loss but he is not completely gone as long as there is people to remember him and from what I read, there's lots and lots of people that will keep his memory alive. He was surely a blessing to this world. My prayers for you and your family.

  11. I'm so very sorry for your loss. This was a touching tribute to a man who I wish I'd had the honor of knowing. Thank you for sharing him with us. I can't imagine losing a sibling and I hope I never have to. It sounds like having him in your life was such a wonderful thing and I'm glad you have such great memories to keep. Again, thank you for sharing him with us...

  12. Sorry for the loss of your brother. He sure sounds like a wonderful person that touched many along the way.

  13. I reckon your brother would've got on really well with my brother. I lost my brother this year also. I feel your pain. My prayers are with you.

  14. He sounds like an amazing man with a lot of people who cared about him. I'm incredibly sorry for your loss.

  15. Thank you for sharing his story with us. My heart breaks for you and your family. He made such an impression on so many people and his service to his country is appreciated beyond measure. May the memories of his amazing life give you strength to make it through the dark days. Heather

  16. I'm so sorry for your loss and I'm praying for you and your family. He sounds like an amazing light in this world.

  17. I am so sorry about your loss. I know it is a deep cut and one that will be an open sore for a long time. Saying goodbye is hard, and especially having to say goodbye suddenly from someone you love that you didn't expect to leave you.
    I was looking for your IWSG article and read this one. I am glad I did. All the best through this awful time and I'm praying for you.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange


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