On the idea of 'tact', I'm not sure that's the way to go. I feel like with my whole life is hidden out of 'tact', but then there's nothing left to talk about.
I feel like this idea of 'tact' is being misused to avoid honesty, which is what has created this distance in the first place. Or maybe we're just too different.
Have you considered that being tactful is being honest with YOURSELF about the fact that you have nothing in common with your parents? And that's the best you can offer? Basic polite, and small talk chit chat? There's just not gonna be deep meaningful sharing here? It doesn't mean anyone is horrible. It just means... not a lot in common.
I'm not doing that many 'safe' things to talk about at the moment. Which leaves me with 'I'm fine' (which I'm most certainly not at the moment) and no real topics of conversation.
I don't have a lot in common with my parents. OR some of my other relatives. I don't hate them. Just that we're not tight. Just because we are related doesn't mean insta-bond. Esp in larger families -- my mom is tight with 2 sisters, but not the other 2. I had to point that out to her when she was lamenting that I'm not close to mine. Why this expectation when she's not close to some of hers? She agreed.
Find the topics you CAN do. In my case with my father who is an Alz patient topics go like...
"How are you? How's Muffin (his pet) doing? What yummy food did you have for dinner? Has he heard about restaurant X? (he likes to eat.)"
Do I super care about the cat, his chicken dinner or restaurant X? I care some, but I could take it or leave it. Do I expect deep conversation here? No. Do I expect him to take an interest in MY things? No. Do I want to talk to him about things that are closer to my interests? Once upon a time I did, but I let the want to be a close knit family go a long time ago. My dad is just not that dad. I just have the dad relationship I have. Like even if he weren't a patient? He's just not into the things I'm into. Wasn't back then, why would he be now that he ill?
So one thing we can talk about we both like is shared memories and stories. I usually prompt him and then he's happy telling me family stories and I'm happy to listen about the time him and brother found a skunk in the woods and similar.
You may have to change your expectations of what sort of relationship you have with your parents "adult to adult" and have some boundaries if the parents are still trying to relate to you like "adult to kid." You are NOT a kid.
You also may not have your ideal close relationship with your parents as adult to adult. You just have the one you have.
I also had to grieve the loss of my childhood home.
Did something happen to it? Or is it that you aren't gonna be living there?
Today I finally sent that email (I wrote most of it a week ago, but had to reread it and dull the edges). I stated I was bothered by the name calling, that I'd prefer to talk about stuff sooner and not have them "try" again, and that it's ok for me to live elsewhere. I kept it short, not sure if it really conveyed what I wanted to show, though. Hopefully, it's still a good step. Time will tell
Keep it small and doable for you. Moving it forward in bite size pieces is totally fine.