Painting by Peter Teekamp
This painting of Amanda is precious to Amanda’s mother, Tammy Brown, in many ways. It is the darling baby that she dearly loved and lost, as a beautiful angel, happy and at peace. The painting created healing and closure to years of Tammy's grief. In working with Peter Teekamp she learned that for her daughter to find peace, that she, Tammy, must first be at peace with her loss.
Below is a letter given to Peter by little Amanda's mother. Her letter is testimony to the healing effect of this painting on her life and on her own philosophy and it truly is HER story, and her generosity to share such an intimate thing.
On December 1997, in the course of discussing an upcoming book by Peter
Teekamp, Tammy not only gave permission to print her letter but also to
allow Peter one more privilege. The sharing of the following
was Tammy's own contribution to Peter’s book. The information that she
had encouraged him to share with others was not at his request, but by
her own unselfish motive of hoping that others experiencing similar
could be helped by it in some way.
This special painting also held a very private meaning, one that few may understand. Tammy told Peter, "Tell people Peter, it's okay. Really. It's a good thing." The 'good thing' Tammy was referring to was that every stroke of paint Peter used in the creation of "Portrait of Amanda" was lovingly mixed with her ashes.
Tammy Brown’s Letter:
"Let me begin by telling you a little bit of my story. In November of 1989, I had a baby girl that died at birth. I was devastated, to say the least. This was the first experience of death for me. I was filled with grief, loss, anger and confusion. I had no idea how to deal with these feelings or how to let go of them.
That is where Peter Teekamp comes in. I met Peter in 1994. Peter's paintings are very special. They all have a very positive meaning to them. A lot of them are spiritual or heavenly. I began thinking how special it would be to have a painting of my little angel, Amanda. Little did I know how much Peter and this painting were going to help me let go of all the sadness I was holding inside.
Since my daughter's death I had only a few things to remember her by; two polaroids, her footprints, a lock of her hair, her little hat and her ashes. Occasionally, through the years, I would take these things out and have a good cry, but I never felt 'at peace'.
Planning this painting with Peter was such a healing experience. I showed him all of my memories of her. I told him how the polaroids didn't resemble how I remembered her when I held her for that short time. He took from the pictures of her and my memory and came up with a beautiful little girl. She was in the clouds, overlooking a tree full of angels, a brilliant rainbow and the prettiest flowers I ever saw. The best part of all was the calm, happy look on her face. When I look at her now in this painting I feel she's in a wonderful place and that someday I will see her again.
Having this painting has helped me work through a lot of unsettled feelings. I can't express how much Peter has helped me through this. Before we started this painting, when I thought of my daughter, I felt sadness and loss. Now when I look at my painting on my wall, I feel like a part of her is always with me."
~ Tammy Brown