Tom Coughlin opens up about caring for his wife, Judy, who suffers from a serious illness

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The vows exchanged at the outset of a marriage are solemn and significant. For better or worse. In sickness and in health.

Former Jaguars and Giants coach Tom Coughlin is honoring the promise he made 54 years ago. He opened up about his current situation in an item for the New York Times regarding the struggles of his wife, Judy.

Coughlin explains that Judy was diagnosed with progressive supra nuclear palsy in 2020. The brain disorder slowly eliminates the ability to walk, speak, think, and control bodily movements. It’s been a four-year battle for Coughlin, his wife, and their family.

“I’ve learned firsthand caregiving is all-consuming,” Coughlin writes. “It is mentally and physically exhausting. Sometimes you just need a break. When Judy is having a good day, then my day is good. But then there are dark days — those days that are so full of frustration and anger, they have me feeling like a failure and pondering the unfairness of the disease. I’ve spent my entire life preparing for some of the biggest games a person could play, but nothing can prepare you to be a caregiver who has to watch a loved one slip away.”

Those who provide primary care to loved ones, regardless of the illness or condition, understand what Coughlin is experiencing. Coughlin has shared his journey in order to help others realize that the caregivers need care, too.

It’s an important message. The process of caring for a loved one who is sliding into the twilight takes a major toll on those who shepherd them through the worst of the worst days. It takes strength and resilience. And it requires compassion and understanding for those who are forced to witness a family member fade into a shadow of what he or she once was.

10 responses to “Tom Coughlin opens up about caring for his wife, Judy, who suffers from a serious illness

  1. I doubt I’d agree with Tom on most things in life, but he’s a champion and a good man. Wish him this best as he helps his wife through this.

  2. A lesser man would plant his ole’ lady at Shady Pines and call it a day. God bless him, his wife and family.

  3. Having been caregiver for both parents in their twilight years, I can only say that Tom’s commitment to his wife impresses me far more than his greatness on the sideline. It is a difficult but rewarding time. Blessings to him and his family.

  4. I took care of my late wife 24/7 for ten months and 18 days before she died in 2019. I’ve been through a lot in a long life including a house fire, a house flood, and my wife’s major cancer surgery in 1990.

    Nothing, absolutely nothing in our almost fifty years together, was even close to being as difficult as being a 24/7 caregiver and having to watch my life’s companion slowly waste away. I was happy to care for her, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but, I swear to God, caring for someone with a terrible medical condition is as hard as it gets. At least that was the truth for me in my situation.

    I feel so terribly sorry for Coughlin and his wife. There just aren’t words to express all this. 🙁

  5. Caregivers are a special breed of people. Not everyone is capable of the all-encompassing task it quickly becomes. The mental strength and discipline Tom displayed on the field is serving him well in this new role. All the best to the Coughlins.

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever liked much about Tom Coughlin, but I can empathize with him. It’s a frustrating, all-consuming, lifestyle change and not everyone can handle it.
    Just enjoy the good moments is the only advice.

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