Welcome to my blog!
Hello! My name is Paula and I love to write. I have an affinity for words and I want to tell tales about life and share experiences. I now have my very own canvas. I’m so excited! I have wanted to be an author since I was a child. I graduated from the Morris Journalism Academy in 2007. It’s funny how sometimes your passions are put on the back burner, while life goes on. You have probably heard the line “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”, (is it from a song? Not sure). I am blessed with the gifts of time and space now, and here I am doing what I love.Check out some of my articles.. Happy reading!
Rise – An Inspiring Story
I wrote an article a while back called Choice Your Ultimate Freedom The piece is about the control that each of us has over our thoughts and how we always have the choice to decide whether to be happy or not. Since then I came across the story of Ingrid Poulson who is a living case in point of how the spirit can choose to overcome the most tragic circumstances imaginable and go on.
This story is sad and I am sharing it, not to depress but to demonstrate the potency of the human spirit. This tale is about a young woman and a four minute incident that changed everything.
Her father Peter and her two children, four year old Marilyn (‘Malee’) and 23 month old Sebastian (‘Bas’) are her best memories, “My children were loving and beautifully naughty. I would cry with love for them as they slept. Dad was my inspiration. Their lives were so full, so happy. I remember the good. The bad thing that happened to them took only four minutes,” she told ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly’ in an interview published earlier this month. (If you live in Australia you may have read this interview. I have obtained Ingrid’s quotes from there.)
The ‘bad’ thing that Ingrid is referring to occurred on the 15th September 2003 in a suburb west of Sydney, Australia. Her husband Phithak Kongsom (a.ka. Neung) killed her father and her two children by stabbing them and eventually ended his own life after attempting to kill his wife.
Ingrid and Neung separated after she noticed the change from “sweet and mild mannered” to aggressive and controlling. He did not appreciate Ingrid’s independence; she was working and studying at University and he demanded for her to stay at home and take care of the domestic duties, although he spent money they did not have recklessly, such as borrowing $41,000 to buy two motorbikes plunging them into serious debt.
He was served an Apprehended Violence Order in August 2003 which forbade him to loom anywhere near Ingrid and the kids. Up until then Neung had been harassing her with threatening notes and phone calls. He held a knife against Malee’s throat outside her Kindy one day; a far cry from their initial meeting at the American University Alumni Language Center in Chang Mai where Ingrid was teaching English and Neung, a mature aged student in her class, pursued her and begged her to go out with him. “His courting was very romantic,” she says.
They married and moved to Australia where Neung, with his Education Degree had high hopes of obtaining a good job in finance, but did not succeed as his English was not up to the standard required. He took a job as a postman instead.
Their problems began to surface shortly after Bas, their younger child was born. Cultural differences and Neung’s growing anger fuelled their increasing arguments.
The night before the tragedy Neung had shown up at Ingrid’s house brandishing a 30 cm kitchen knife. After tying her to a bed and raping her, he screamed with rage and told her that if she did not return to him he would kill them both. To save her life Ingrid agreed and told him she would return to him providing he found a job, so he left.
The next morning Ingrid phoned the Police to report that Neung had broken the AVO and attacked and threatened her. The officer explained that evidence was required in order to investigate. The Police came to the house and accompanied her to the hospital as to substantiate evidence of the rape. Ingrid left the children with her father Peter.
She inadvertently left her mobile phone behind which caused her dad to answer it when Neung made yet another call. Peter harshly told him to go away and that his daughter had gone to the police. “That was the trigger…”said Ingrid.
When she arrived at the house she discovered her father’s body along with the children’s on the driveway. Her Dad slouched over a broom, the only weapon he could find to protect his grandchildren. Although bleeding from self inflicted wounds Neung lunged toward Ingrid in an attempt to kill her too. She fought him hard until gunfire ceased the struggle. The Police had arrived and were forced to shoot.
Ingrid was physically uninjured and has managed to hold on emotionally and succeed despite her horrible experience. Her mother Janice and sister Rebecca are always by her side whenever she needs them.
Initially she spent a lot of time trying to figure out what would make any human being so disturbed as to commit such horrific acts. Ingrid told the magazine, “…a wise policeman told me, 'Stop searching for an answer. To understand where Neung was, you have to put yourself in that terrible place and you don’t need to go there.’ I thought ‘Thank you.’ I don’t need to visit that place.”
She went through a heart breaking time of grief and guilt and she says the sense of loss was also physical in the early days. The only thing she will always live with is ‘survivor’s guilt' which she feels is a primal way for any parent to feel under similar circumstances.
It is not the first time she has had to endure enormous sorrow. Her brother Adrian committed suicide when she was 21 and at the time she did not cope well. She lost weight by not bothering to eat properly and would drink too much. She decided this time around that was not going to be the way.
Unless you have experienced such grief I guess you can only imagine the agony. What has struck me about this woman, aside from her awful ordeal, is her belief in her own survival. “Events happen despite you, you can’t choose what befalls you. You can control how you respond,” she says. Her favourite aphorism is Aristotle’s “You are what you repeatedly do.”
In due course the “not coping days” dwindled and she began by taking good physical care of her body as she believes that looking after your body helps heal the mind, and made goals for herself to aspire to. From there she decided to have a social life again, travel and allow her best self to shine through. She has resolved to avoid all negativity. All my life my nickname has been ‘Smiley’,” she told ‘The Weekly’, “and, after everything it still is. People smile at me and I don’t know why, until I realise that I’m smiling at them.”
She delights in everyday pleasures such as drinking a good cup of coffee, Coldplay CDs, flowers and giving to others. “Coffee is not something that I just gulp down,” she says, “I savour my daily ritual of sitting in a café and treating myself to a cup. I stockpile every moment and return to it in my mind when I need to. I believe in the extricable link between physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.”
She speaks to her father and his grandchildren everyday and early in the morning she often feels Malee laying beside her in her bed “I hear their laughter …My kids are with me, that’s the only way I can put it…It’s my job to find happiness. The sadness will always be there, I can’t do anything about that, but I have happiness, too, if I choose.” She has promised to honour their lives by living “the happiest and most fulfilling way she can.”
Ingrid Poulson has even found romance again and would not dismiss the idea of having another child. She runs her company called 'Steadfast Training.' The business provides assistance to people dealing with high stress jobs and has now authored a life changing book aptly titled ‘Rise’. She says that it is her story told in a way as to provide self help for people dealing with overwhelming circumstances and grief.
What a gift this woman, who has survived the unimaginable, has given us with her words! Her parents raised her to be a contented optimistic person and, as her mum put it, Ingrid has already had the very worst day of her life and things have to get better from now on.
There is so much we can learn from this tragic story of survival and resilience of the spirit. I will be sure to buy a copy of ‘Rise’. I don’t want the inspiration to end. I wish Ingrid and her family all the very best.
A Gift Of Poetry