Jill Duggar Dillard Suffers Heartbreaking Loss

Jill Duggar Dillard, who has been working on the audiobook for her new tell-all book, normally posts cheerful news on her Instagram feed. So far, she's spent summer 2023 going on road trips, visiting cousin Amy Duggar King and her son, harvesting an impressive crop of veggies from her garden, and celebrating two special birthdays: Son Frederick turned 1 the day before big brother Samuel turned 6. But on July 30, Dillard interrupted her normally upbeat posts to announce a heartbreaking loss on her Stories: "Our hearts are breaking over the loss today of our sweet friend @heather.schisler," she wrote. "We have [known] each other for years and were in the same small group at church for several years. We were pregnant together last year and had our babes just a couple weeks apart."

The accompanying photo shows a lovely photo of the Schisler family: Heather, her husband Jonathan, and their four children, Zachary, Hailey, Madden, and baby Breelyn Grace, born just two weeks after Jill's son Frederick. Like the Dillards, the Schislers are devout Christians, and their older children attend a private Christian academy in Springdale, Arkansas. 

"Please join us in praying for their entire family," Jill added. "I cannot imagine all they're going through." She also tagged Schisler's sister, Julie Smithson, with the acronym "LYSM" (Love You So Much).

Jill's friend Heather received a devastating diagnosis

Jill Duggar Dillard's friend Heather Schisler had been enjoying a blessed life. Already the mother of three, she had recently given birth to baby Breelyn after almost giving up hope of adding to her family (her pregnancy had come a full two years after she miscarried in 2020). "[W]hile we were content being a family of 5, we also all longed and hoped that God would give us just one more baby to love!" Schisler wrote in her pregnancy announcement. Just nine months later, she posted the heartbreaking news that she had been diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Her doctors were still trying to determine the origin of the disease, but it had already spread to her liver and lungs, making it a Stage 4 disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, metastatic cancer cannot be cured, but depending on the type and its response to treatment, patients can live for months or even years. 

Schisler received plenty of support from loved ones; just days after she announced her news, she posted footage of a crowd who had gathered outside her home to pray and sing. Dillard commented, "We were so sad to miss but love y'all so much and know we are praying!" The love and prayers sustained Schisler's spirit, but not her body: Just three months after her diagnosis, she died. She leaves behind her devastated family, including a baby who will never know her mother. Dillard's memorial post included the simple angry message: "I hate cancer."