I finally realized this morning that I'm stuck at exactly the same point in Thought where I got stuck in Ghosts. Writing about a teenage ghost means that you're writing about a dead child. There's no way around that.
I also realized, though--and this realization is more fun--that Sylvie is an entire rebellion in one character against a stereotype of emotional empaths. She's an empath (although I never describe it that way) but she just treats it as a sense and moves on. The whole "overwhelmed by other people's emotions" stereotype--yeah, not so much. Because, honestly, who is overwhelmed by sight? So there's a lot of colors in the world, it doesn't make you curl up into a fetal ball. Same with smell, same with touch. We learn to process. We learn to filter.
Sylvie had to learn to process another sense, she did, and she's fine. And I need to keep writing her story, despite the dead child!