The video below was created by one of my son’s friends a few months after his death: His Suicide.

John Patrick Jude Zajaros, Jr., Jack to his friends, Jackie to those who loved him the most, took his own life in the early morning hours of July 1, 2012. He planned his death out carefully and executed himself without witness and without leaving a note behind.

I cannot imagine the desperation and the pain he must have felt, a pain so black that caused him to act in such a way. I can, however, get pretty close; it must have been a terrible, black, lonely place.

The irony is palpable, on so many levels.

And yet he was loved so very much. Did he know? Did it matter? It’s impossible to know.

While the video below is not a slick production, it does seem to capture the pain he must have felt toward the end of his life.

Suicide is at epidemic levels; it is a familial tragedy and a national catastrophe. Until we bring suicide out of the closet and work to understand it, we will continue to lose our friends and loved ones. We are losing the young, the elderly, and those in-between to suicide. Suicide does not discriminate. Suicide is an equal opportunity destroyer. Suicide accepts all who apply, doling out terrible consequences.

We must come to understand suicide by asking the tough questions, by seeking even tougher answers, and then, by applying the lessons learned. If we don’t work to understand suicide, I fear the latest trend will only continue to grow. I know it will grow!

I miss my son each and every day. The pain is like no other. There is no closure. Closure is a myth. Closure does not exist. There is only grief, somewhat abated by time, life, more painful than before but still worth living, and family, the loved ones left behind, family and friends trying in vain to make sense of it all.

There is no sense to be gained, yet still we try.

What else can we do?

If you are contemplating suicide. If you are considering an end to your life. Call me. Call anybody. PLEASE, CALL SOMEONE NOW!

If you are seriously considering an end to your life? Call the NSPH number listed below.

I wish you every good thing in life. But, most of all, I wish you peace!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-8255
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish


Happy Father’s Day, Dads!

Happy Father's Day, Dad! From Westside Tutoring & Testing Services - In Any Language!

A Privilege and a Pleasure!

I have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of amazing dads over the years. I have had the privilege of working with their sons and daughters and have come to know many of them personally. The fathers I have come to know come in every imaginable size and shape, from every conceivable race, religion, and culture, and range in educational background from barely finishing middle school (then, junior high school) to PhD, MD, CPA, JD, and the like.

The common denominator they share has been evident to a man:

They love their children and want for them at least as full a life as they’ve had…and, hopefully, a fuller, richer life.

It is easy to be a father. It is harder to be a Dad. Maybe harder isn’t the right word, but it certainly takes more effort to be good father…a Dad.

Almost any male of our species can father a child. Many should not! It takes much more effort to be a loving, caring, devoted parent…but the payoff is immense.

There is a poem many people are familiar with. The vast majority attribute it to the Bible. However, regardless of provenance, it is particularly accurate in describing the (possible) rewards associated with fatherhood.

Or rather, the rewards that come with being a Dad!

I want to share this poem with you. I also want to thank the Dads out there…particularly the Dads who have allowed me the privilege of working with their children.

I am forever grateful!

And to my children, well, you know how I feel about you. You have given me love beyond measure and a fuller life than I could have possibly hoped for.

I love you GREAT BIG LOTS!

And, finally, to Jack, Jr:

You are in my heart every day. Jack, there isn’t a day that goes by without you. I will miss you until the day I die, son.

To Dads Everywhere – The Rewards of Fatherhood


Whatever you give away today
or think or say or do
will multiply about ten fold
and then return to you

It may not come immediately
nor from the obvious source
but the law applies unfailingly,
through some invisible source

Whatever you feel about another
be it love or hate or passion
will surely bounce right back to you
in some clear (or secret) fashion

If you speak about some person
a word of praise or two
soon, tens of other people
will speak kind words of you.

Our thoughts are broadcasts of the soul,
not secrets of the brain
Kind ones bring us happiness
petty ones, untold pain

Giving works as surely
as reflections in a mirror
If hate you send, hate you’ll get back
but loving brings love nearer

Remember as you start this day
and duty crowds your mind
that kindness comes so quickly back
to those who first are kind

Let that thought and this one
direct us through each day
The only things we ever keep
are the things we give away.

Author Unknown

To my daughters and granddaughters, to my wife and best friend, to the students who have allowed me to share a bit of myself, and to the Dads who have allowed me to tutor, mentor, and coach their children:

Father's Day 2014 - The Zajaros Family

Thank you!

Professor John P. J. “Jack” Zajaros, Sr.
Westside Tutoring & Testing Services
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-712-7004 (office)

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Has Unhappiness Become a Cultural Universal?

If so, how did we get to where we are today?

What Were Are Dreams?

As children we dreamed of:

  • Becoming an astronaut and going to the Moon. Or perhaps Mars!
  • Becoming a fireman, fighting fires and saving lives. And, once in a while pulling a cat out of a tree.
  • Becoming a policeman and helping others. Because we were told that that’s what policemen do…help others in need.
  • Becoming a doctor or a nurse and helping others. By becoming a pediatrician we would be able to help children…others like ourselves.
  • Becoming a teacher and working with children. Once again, because we wanted to help others… in this case, to learn.

Where are you today?

  • Did you follow through and become an astronaut? If so, can I please have your autograph?
  • How about a fireman or a police officer?
  • Perhaps you’re a doctor? Working with children in the Third World somewhere? And maybe for Doctors without Borders or the World Health Organization?
  • Maybe you went to college and now you’re teaching kindergarten on a Native American Reservation, in Appalachia, or the inner city?

Where are your dreams today?

  • Did you hold onto them?
  • Do you remember them?
  • Are you willing to admit that you still remember them? Because admitting you remember your dreams might lead you to ask the next, much more difficult question:
  • Why not?

And finally, what are your dreams today?

In fact, let’s take it a step farther and ask this question:

  • Do you dream at all?

Obviously, the above-mentioned questions can only be answered by you, and only after a great deal of contemplation and soul searching.

Unless, of course, you are one of the fortunate few, the twenty percent who are happy, the twenty percent who have followed their dreams…and/or continue to follow their dreams!

Are you one of the 80%?

Or are you part of the 20%?

I have embedded two videos because they are interesting, and because they get to the heart of the matter quickly and interestingly. At least I think so. I hope you do too!

Please let me know what you think!

And, perhaps, where you are today in terms of the whole 80/20* thing.

Here are the two videos:

How to Know Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes: Adam Leipzig at TEDxMalibu

How to find and do work you love: Scott Dinsmore at TEDxGoldenGatePark (2D)

John Zajaros
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

*Note: Not to be confused with the 80/20 Principle – although the relationship (and the coincidence – if coincidence exists) is suggestive.


Kailyn Christine and Brynn Elizabeth Purdy – The Z Girls: Part II

August 1, 2013 

Kailyn and Brynn - The Z Girls Part II

The Best Day Ever!

Yesterday morning I walked 8.27 miles, half of it with TuffGuy…it was a gorgeous morning and my walking buddy and I took full advantage.

In the afternoon, Brynnie, Kailyn, and I curled up on their bed and continued our reading of Charlotte’s Web while Nana went to the store and Allie went off to work. Kailyn and Brynnie listened as Wilbur watched Templeton work his way over to his trough, still full of slops, and Lurvy told Mr. Zuckerman that there was something wrong with Wilbur.

Then, we had steak on the grill and Sweet’s sweet corn-on-the-cob for dinner. Emmy and Connie took the girls to Dairy Queeen for dessert…ice cream sundaes. They brought home the usual for me: an extra-large raspberry milkshake.

Okay, okay! Once in a while I go for blueberry…just to spice things up a bit!

We finished off the day by “camping out” in the living room. Brynn, Kailyn, Nana, and I…and of course TuffGuy and Bart…curled up on the sectional and watched Chasing Mavericks and Edward Scissorhands. The girls loved Edward Scissorhands, no big surprise there. And they really got into Chasing Mavericks!

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Allie came home from work during Edward Scissorhands and saw what we were doing.

Then, Allie smiled and winked at me. She told Kailyn that she was sitting in her, Allie’s, spot. Allie’s spot was always curled up next to me and either reading a book or watching late night TV…usually a scary movie!

Well, Kailyn immediately curled even closer; and Brynn, already on my lap and not to be outdone, snuggled even closer too!

It was as if they were saying, “This is my spot now!” 

It was a good thing, a precious moment; and Allie, knowing the full-value of moments just like that one, smiled, grabbed her dinner, and went to bed…tired but smiling.

It was a very good day.

A simple day.

A day filled with smiles and laughter and hugs…and love!

It was the best day so far…the best day ever!

Every day is the best day now…although we miss our son, our brother, and our uncle very much.

We’ve come so far and I am, we are, so very grateful just to be here!

We lost everything.

Everything, that is, except the two things that matter most:

Our lives and each other.

And that’s enough…because they are the only things permanent.

It was a very good day…the best day ever!



Memories, Mom, and Dying Far Too Young

by John Zajaros Life Lessons

Tweet Memories of Mom, Ralph, and Mark I was looking at a picture of family members and that got me thinking about my mom. Mom got me through the toughest times and, while we certainly had our differences as I was growing up, I always considered her my very best friend…all 5ft 2in of her! […]

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