The daughter of Bedfordshire fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore says her father believed he would come out of hospital alive.
The 100-year-old died with coronavirus at Bedford hospital in February.
Hannah Ingram-Moore said he told nurses he was looking forward to his 101st birthday celebrations and more fundraising when he was home.
The Second World War veteran, raised more than £32 million for NHS charities, by walking laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine.
His daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore said her father laughed and reminisced about the "crazy times of the last year" with the family, during his final days.
"None of us could have planned for what happened," said Ms Ingram-Moore.
"My father definitely did not expect not to be here. That's just a fact. But he was 100 and he was a very happy 100.
"He lived those 100 years, and the last year was simply extraordinary.
"How we feel is that we were not expecting him not to be with us and we miss him desperately."
She said Sir Tom would tell nurses: "I'm coming back out, I've got a lot of fundraising to do, I've got my birthday celebration."