In Italy, perhaps due to our Greek-Roman influence on culture, it is not uncommon to see something like:
alpha January 9, 1913 — omega April 22, 1994
...written on tombstones to mean dates of birth and death respectively. While I thought this was pretty much universal and my previous use of this symbolism didn't seem to raise any eyebrows, I was mildly surprised to see it wasn't suggested on a question like this, especially because it seems to fit the description fairly well.
Now, instead of adding yet another answer to that question — 23 are more than enough — I have to wonder: are alpha and omega commonly understandable symbols for life and death in English culture?