The topic of death and dying is not something that has been of interest only to writers

and scholars in the late 20th century. From the earliest beginnings of civilization, people

have been faced with death and the questions of why it occurs, what it means, and how to

cope with it. Primitive people encountered death almost daily, and the members of early

cultures and societies were undoubtedly keenly aware that it was their fate to die

someday. Because one’s life expectancy at birth was less than 20 years in ancient times,

that day was not long in coming.