But just when doors started to open for Nilsen, he entered the most painful period of his life. Two years ago, at the age of 37, Weaver (right) died after the sudden, devastating onset of Hodgkin’s disease. Afterward Nilsen buried himself in his work, creating two raw and intimate books dealing with her final days and his struggle to carry on without her, Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow and The End. He was mourning, and he was doing it with more people paying attention to him than ever had before.
“One of the ironies of Cheryl dying is that, when we were together, we were always, always worried about money,” he says. “We were both working, but we were often worried about where rent was coming from. Now it’s just me and I’m doing fine. I don’t have to worry about money. It sucks.”